May 17, 2017

It's hard not to see.

On the NYT front page right now:
Here's a Psychology Today article "We See What We Want to See." It gets our attention with Grace Kelly's breasts:
“At the rehearsal for the scene in Rear Window when I wore a sheer nightgown, Hitchcock called for [costume designer] Edith Head. He came over here and said, ‘Look, the bosom is not right, we’re going to have to put something in there.’ He was very sweet about it; he didn't want to upset me, so he spoke quietly to Edith. We went into my dressing room and Edith said, ‘Mr. Hitchcock is worried because there’s a false pleat here. He wants me to put in falsies.’

“‘Well,’ I said, ‘You can't put falsies in this, it’s going to show—and I'm not going to wear them.’ And she said, ‘What are we going to do?’ So we quickly took it up here, made some adjustments there, and I just did what I could and stood as straight as possible—without falsies. When I walked out onto the set Hitchcock looked at me and at Edith and said, ‘See what a difference they make?’”
And here's a Buzzfeed listicle, "22 People Who Found Jesus In Their Food." Here he is — #16 — in the Marmite:

139 comments:

rhhardin said...

It ought to be obstruction of the law, not justice. Justice was what Trump was after.

Michael said...

The press has joined, or has led, the insane left. It would be funny if it weren't serious. Do the SJWs and the press believe that an impeached Trump will lead to Hillary or Bernie? Are they that blinded by their rage?

David Begley said...

We flyover people don't care what the NYT thinks. Move on.

Robert Cook said...

It is very true, we tend to see what we're expecting or want to see, and we often don't see what aren't expecting or don't want to see. Our brains lie to us all the time.

As to the things we do see, we interpret what they mean according to our own experience, expectations, and beliefs. We tend to ignore or reject interpretations that disagree with or debunk our beliefs.

Robert Cook said...

"The press has joined, or has led, the insane left."

And who is leading the insane right? You can bet Rupert Murdoch is involved.

MadisonMan said...

Is this all based on a memo no one has seen?

Robert Cook said...

"Do the SJWs and the press believe that an impeached Trump will lead to Hillary or Bernie? Are they that blinded by their rage?"

This is true. They are blinded by their own rage, (as the right is by its rage.) Trump's removal will lead to Spence becoming President, God help us!

Bay Area Guy said...

Similar tangent:

I am just a poor boy.
Though my story's seldom told,
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles,
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest.
- The Boxer (1970). Simon & Garfunkel

Once written, twice... said...


When Trump said last year that he could murder someone in the middle of 5th Avenue during broad daylight and his followers woundn't care, he was referring specifically to Ann Althouse.

Rene Saunce said...

Impeach Trump! The hack press has all the goods!

Brookzene said...

I think it's possible Pence will be one of our worst presidents ever, but far and away better than Trump. On the other hand Pence may grow into the position and rise above himself.

Defintely: 8 years of Pence over 4 year of this scary, destructive bullshit.

Virtually Unknown said...

If accurate, it does have a "Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?" vibe. Not an order to kill somebody if you diagram the sentence.

Still, he's not Hillary. Kakistocracy is a great word, but can it apply to our entire 'elite'?

Virtually Unknown said...

I think that Wikileaks serves to confirm Hillary's stellar judgment in encouraging her followers in the press to elevate Trump, since in her judgement, it would be best for America if he were the alternative to her.

Brookzene said...

It's 8:30 am on the East Coast folks. Strap on your seat belts. Stuff's gonna start getting real again today.

rehajm said...

It's hard to see Melania walking across the tarmac to talk up Loretta Lynch here.

AReasonableMan said...

David French said...

If the [Comey] memo exists, then there is compelling evidence that the president committed a potentially impeachable offense. Here is the alleged chain of events: First, Trump asked Comey to drop an investigation of a close former associate and a former senior official in his administration. Second, Comey refused. Third, weeks later Trump fired Comey. Fourth, Trump then misled the American people regarding the reason for the dismissal. Each prong is important, but it’s worth noting that the fourth prong — Trump’s deception regarding the reason for Comey’s termination — is particularly problematic in context. Deception is classic evidence of malign intent.

If true, this is a serious abuse of power, and a Republican Congress would certainly impeach a Democrat if the roles were reversed.

Inga said...

"There is an immutable fact about denial: it does not work—long term. Reality always wins. And when it does, the next step in the process is blame, which shifts responsibility onto someone or something else. "I only did it because of you! If you hadn't done that, I wouldn't have done this." So where there's denial, blame is always available to ease the pain when reality bites."

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/beyond-blame/201204/how-does-denial-actually-work

JAORE said...

SoComey write memos to himself at these key points?

Apparently the mighty WaPo believes it... so it MUST, just must, be true.

Great news!

Let's see it.

And the one following Bill Clinton visiting Lynch's airplane...

And the one about those immunity deals for Hillary's subordinates...

And the one about...

Let's see them ALL. Published in full, available, in full, to every media outlet and every citizen.

Virtually Unknown said...

Trump then misled the American people regarding the reason for the dismissal.

That's a stretch, and completely unprovable, but of course it is "particularly problematic."

Virtually Unknown said...

We all know that Bill Clinton talked about "grandchildren" with Lynch. I don't know why you guys keep bringing this up.

The original crime is the Democrats turning a blind eye to decades of abuse of power by the Clintons.

Bay Area Guy said...

David French is a nice guy, a smart guy, but still a #NeverTrumper, so he can't think clearly.

At best, you have a 1-on-1 conversation (assuming no tapes), where each person interprets it a bit differently. Comey's CYA memo is "Self-serving" - it doesn't change the dynamic.

It is 6 months after the election and the Left still hasn't gotten over Hillary's loss/Trump's win. Sad!

AReasonableMan said...

Ross Douthat said...
The presidency is not just another office. It has become, for good reasons and bad ones, a seat of semi-monarchical political power, a fixed place on which unimaginable pressures are daily brought to bear, and the final stopping point for decisions that can lead very swiftly to life or death for people the world over.

One does not need to be a Marvel superhero or Nietzschean √úbermensch to rise to this responsibility. But one needs some basic attributes: a reasonable level of intellectual curiosity, a certain seriousness of purpose, a basic level of managerial competence, a decent attention span, a functional moral compass, a measure of restraint and self-control. And if a president is deficient in one or more of them, you can be sure it will be exposed.

Trump is seemingly deficient in them all. Some he perhaps never had, others have presumably atrophied with age.

I do not believe that our president sufficiently understands the nature of the office that he holds, the nature of the legal constraints that are supposed to bind him, perhaps even the nature of normal human interactions, to be guilty of obstruction of justice in the Nixonian or even Clintonian sense of the phrase. I do not believe he is really capable of the behind-the-scenes conspiring that the darker Russia theories envision. And it is hard to betray an oath of office whose obligations you evince no sign of really understanding or respecting.

[This] is an argument, instead, for using a constitutional mechanism more appropriate to this strange situation than impeachment: the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows for the removal of the president if a majority of the cabinet informs the Congress that he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” and (should the president contest his own removal) a two-thirds vote by Congress confirms the cabinet’s judgment.

his incapacity to really govern, to truly execute the serious duties that fall to him to carry out, is nevertheless testified to daily — not by his enemies or external critics, but by precisely the men and women whom the Constitution asks to stand in judgment on him, the men and women who serve around him in the White House and the cabinet.

Read the things that these people, members of his inner circle, his personally selected appointees, say daily through anonymous quotations to the press. (And I assure you they say worse off the record.) They have no respect for him, indeed they seem to palpate with contempt for him, and to regard their mission as equivalent to being stewards for a syphilitic emperor.

It is not squishy New York Times conservatives who regard the president as a child, an intellectual void, a hopeless case, a threat to national security; it is people who are self-selected loyalists, who supported him in the campaign, who daily go to work for him.

rehajm said...

This Week!: MSM brings you TherapyTV's re-re-re-rebroadcast of Impeachment Week! Only on TherapyTV!

JPS said...

"It is hard not to see the outlines of an attempt to quash a criminal investigation."

No, it's quite easy, really, and it doesn't require me to like or support Trump. Trump haters are convinced there's a great big crime he's trying to stop them from finding. But if he knows, or thinks he knows, there's no crime there, then expressing that hope looks different, doesn't it?

rhhardin said...

Trump was thinking let's avoid another Scooter Libby political lynching. Flynn being a nice guy too.

Can't we get political prosecutions under control.

He hoped to a political showboater in a thriving market for showboaters.

Hagar said...

A contemporary "memo" may or may not exist. In any case, high-ranking officials routinely keep detailed diaries, and indeed, many not so high-ranking do too, for their own protection.

(Field personnel on Corps of Engineers projects are required to keep diaries in addition to their daily construction report forms and turn them in for safekeeping (literally) at the end of the project. Many keep a duplicate at home just in case the one they turned in should "disappear.")

It is obvious that Trump did not trust Comey at all on a personal basis. Is it credible that he would so blithely have given Comey the kind of material the NYT claims? Donald J. Trump, the 70 year old New York real estate development tycoon?

Brookzene said...

"Ross Douthat said..."

Ugh. We're in a very dark place in America. The world, really.

rehajm said...

Google Trends says today's is different

Searches of 'Impeachment' are up!

Searches of 'Impeachment' are up so lefties don't misspell 'Impeachment' on the SnapFace and InstantChats.

Mike said...

There's a pretty fair test for what "this" is: DID Comey report it to the DOJ immediately, as required by law? If not, there's no obstruction. For surely Comey wouldn't risk his job by failing to report something "so obviously obstructionist" as that, right?

Or maybe, as described in Althouse's post yesterday, the ambiguous and elliptical language used by Trump was something far less than a crime. Maybe it was a simple conversation about Flynn the day after Trump fired him, expressing his hope for a quick resolution. Since Comey did not report it as would be required for obstruction attempts, a careful reader can assume that no law was breached.

What this really does is site the leakage a lot closer to Comey. No wonder he didn't look for the leaker. He knew all along it was he.

Rene Saunce said...

Trump spoke to someone, and it was clumsy! Clintons are allowed full-on corruption.
Got it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...


Did Mr. Trump Obstruct Justice?

See Betteridge's Law of Headlines

Chuck said...

Professor Althosue; I hope that you do somehow realize, that the New York Times was doing the same thing to Bush43 and Cheney. And before that, they had done the same thing to Reagan and Bush41.

Honestly, I am not sure that you do get that. Anyway, the Times being unfair to a Republican is the dog-bites-man story of the century.

Ron said...

Hitchcock was fooled because the picture is Rear Window...if it had been Front Window, he would have been more careful...

David Begley said...

Media people to former GE CEO Jack Welch, " What's the over/under (in months) on Trump?"

Welch: Get out of here. I have never seen CEO's so positive. We are poised for explosive growth.

JPS said...

AReasonableMan, quoting Ross Douthat:

"[This] is an argument, instead, for using a constitutional mechanism more appropriate to this strange situation than impeachment: the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which allows for the removal of the president if a majority of the cabinet informs the Congress that he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” and (should the president contest his own removal) a two-thirds vote by Congress confirms the cabinet’s judgment."

Hey, remember when Harry Reid got rid of the filibuster for many presidential nominees? Remember how you guys didn't much like the next iteration of that game? Which, who saw that one coming?

What a wonderful precedent this would set: If we hate a president enough, we'll scream about everything he does, then invoke the 25th Amendment. The particulars don't matter. Start with the premise that we've got to get rid of the guy, then find the fodder.

I know you on the left don't want one set of rules for us all. I know it's completely different when you do it. But please tell me you're quoting this passage in horror, not in approval, of what this maniac is recommending. We really, really do not want to go down the road of blurring the lines between "The president is unable to carry out his duties" and "The president is essentially unable to carry out his duties because I and 40% of the country really hate his guts."

Brookzene said...

Douthat above from @ARM's post:

"I do not believe that our president sufficiently understands the nature of the office that he holds, the nature of the legal constraints that are supposed to bind him, perhaps even the nature of normal human interactions, to be guilty of obstruction of justice in the Nixonian or even Clintonian sense of the phrase."

That seems all too plausible.

Brookzene said...

"What a wonderful precedent this would set: If we hate a president enough, we'll scream about everything he does, then invoke the 25th Amendment."

If you actually read the piece, it's the President's cabinet that invokes the 25th Amendment. That's a pretty strong safeguard.

MayBee said...

Obama had an absolutely feckless foreign policy, and the ME is in a disastrous state. I can only imagine that is the way the CIA wants it to be, because the CIA did not leak on Obama.
Obama was being given fake intel on ISIS, but Obama didn't make a fuss, and he didn't get in trouble with the intel agencies. Apparently, don't make none, won't be none.

Obama let the IRS, the VA, the State Department, the ATF, and the Secret Service slide when they performed horribly. And so, Obama was allowed by the permanent government to keep his job.

Do people like the way the Agencies are running the country?

Matthew Sablan said...

Did they care about the IG firings or Obama pulling the DoJ off the Black Panthers or Clinton on the Tarmac?

Funny what criminal obstruction is allowed and what isn't.

rehajm said...

What's the over/under (in months) on Trump?"

If you're itching to short impeachment it's a tough slog. The UK punter sites only give odds for. Predictit is pricing both sides but it's a shady place for a fair prop bet. It's more politics out there than genuine crowd sourced prediction.

buwaya said...

I said before the election that Trump would be entering a snakepit, with every mans hand against him.
Just more of that. The government-elite system is trying to reject the intruding foreign body.
Besides opposing and threatening all their interests, he simply rubs them the wrong way.

urbane legend said...

How do these people know that it's Jesus? Mathew Brady wasn't there. Maybe it is Peter or Andrew. The fish stick seems appropriate, though.

Matthew Sablan said...

"If the [Comey] memo exists, then there is compelling evidence that the president committed a potentially impeachable offense."

-- No, there isn't. Trump did nothing more than Obama did routinely by pontificating about how he'd like to see legal matters, from local crime stories to the investigation at the IRS. He actually fired an IG, told everyone the guy was senile and refused to refill the position, and no one cared.

Trump saying he hopes that Comey drops an investigation into a guy everyone on both sides of the aisle said did nothing illegal, who had already been fired, seems tame compared to that.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Deception is classic evidence of malign intent."

-- The Clinton Standard, as established by Comey, says this is not true.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Can't we get political prosecutions under control."

-- They are under control. They're just controlled so that guys like Ted Stevens and Scooter Libby are hounded from public life while there's no clear intent of Clinton doing anything illegal.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Comey would have been a lot more believable if he has released this information before he had an axe to grind. In the end, however, it comes down to "he said, she said" unless there is a recording of the meeting.

Chuck said...

MadisonMan said...
Is this all based on a memo no one has seen?

I remember not so long ago, then-Judge Neil Gorsuch was meeting with Senator Richard Blumenthal in the leadup to his confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court. And Blumenthal asked Gorsuch about Trump's Tweeted comments disparaging federal judges. And Gorsuch was reported to have said that the Trump comments were "disheartening" and "demoralizing." Trump immediately put out another series of Tweets, attacking Blumenthal personally, and claiming that Blumenthal had "misrepresented" Gorsuch.

But just a few weeks later, when Gorsuch was testifying in his confirmation hearing, under questioning from Senator Blumenthal, Gorsuch used the exact same two words to describe his reaction. Blumenthal had not misrepresented anything. Trump was lying; it was Trump, with his claims of "misrepresentation," who was doing the real misrepresentation.

So, about the memo "no one has seen"; just as with the Blumenthal/Gorsuch conversation for which no one had a recording, we will not have to wait too long for our proof. Congressional leaders from both parties want to see the Comey memo(s), and want Comey to testify. My expectation is the same with that memo, as with the Gorsuch conversation. It will be shown that in fact the memo is exactly as reported. And that Comey will back it up as accurate and true. And that perhaps (because of the way Trump habitually uses words) it won't be an actionable case of obstruction of justice, but the story won't be wrong.

Matthew Sablan said...

"And that Comey will back it up as accurate and true."

-- Why should we believe that when Comey has a history of lying to Congress (even under the Obama administration?)

At this point, we're being asked to pick between two known liars who dislike each other greatly. I say wash our hands of it and move on.

Also: If it isn't a case of obstruction of justice, the story is ENTIRELY WRONG. That's like saying, "well, Bill's alive, but the story about how you killed Bill isn't wrong."

JPS said...

Brookzene,

"If you actually read the piece, it's the President's cabinet that invokes the 25th Amendment."

I did actually read the piece, and I know how the 25th Amendment works. Yes, I wrote imprecisely, eliding that second question. I still think this is a very dangerous relaxation of the standard for removing a president. (Any other Caine Mutiny fans here? Douthat is Keefer, whispering in poor dumb Maryk's ear about invoking Article 184.)

"these people, members of his inner circle, his personally selected appointees, say daily through anonymous quotations to the press. (And I assure you they say worse off the record.) They have no respect for him, indeed they seem to palpate with contempt for him, and to regard their mission as equivalent to being stewards for a syphilitic emperor."

I don't like Trump and I didn't vote for him, so this isn't outrage that they're being mean to my hero. He's not. This is a goddamned disgrace. These people have two honorable options: Resign and speak up; or serve as if he were the wisest and the best, correct his mistakes, and shut the HELL up.

Oh. Did I say honorable? Scratch that and go to option three: I think I'll stay on the job, and bitch anonymously about how much the boss sucks, and only through my Sisyphean labors do disasters fail to occur.

Coming back to the 25th Amendment, my point remains: You do not want this. You think you do, but you really, really don't.

Michael K said...

David French is a nice guy, a smart guy, but still a #NeverTrumper, so he can't think clearly.

Yes, the lefties are in a frenzy with increasing violence being seen by their members with a thinner hold on sanity.

The sock puppets are multiplying. Not just here but over at Powerline.

So far there have been no killings but they will come.

So far, they are mostly threats, but somebody will be injured.

The left has it brownshirts marching to the town halls the GOP legislators are holding. Some have attacked the legislators. As we get closer to the 2018 election, it will get worse. Much worse.

Matthew Sablan said...

JPS: And all that assumes, of course, that the sources actually exist.

Rene Saunce said...

Obama is correct. Trump is a bullshitter.

Trump promised to make sure a full investigation into Hillary and Bill, her private server, and the abuse of classified information, and the Clinton Foundation, would occur.

Instead, he let them off the hook. Saying they are "Good people" and all that crap.

Big Mistake, Trump. Big.


Emmett Tyrrell:

"How did we find ourselves at this comic pass with the Democratic Party warning us of the Russian menace — the Democratic Party whose members have included Alger Hiss and, more lately, Bill Ayers? Well, turn to the recently released bestseller written by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, “Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign.” All the pundits are talking about it, and there are things to admire in it. For instance, turn to Page 395. There you will find this revelation: “Hillary declined to take responsibility for her own loss . Hillary kept pointing her finger at Comey and Russia . That strategy had been set within twenty-four hours of her concession speech . For a couple of hours [Hillary and her aides] went over the script they would pitch to the press and the public. Already, Russian hacking was the centerpiece of the argument.” Now it is the “centerpiece” of the mainstream media and the Democratic Party’s campaign against Donald Trump."

Brookzene said...

"I don't like Trump and I didn't vote for him, so this isn't outrage that they're being mean to my hero. He's not. This is a goddamned disgrace. These people have two honorable options: Resign and speak up; or serve as if he were the wisest and the best, correct his mistakes, and shut the HELL up."

Respect. I don't necessarily agree but I understand this.

"Coming back to the 25th Amendment, my point remains: You do not want this. You think you do, but you really, really don't."

Hey, I'm not sure I want it either. In some scenarios it could be preferable to impeachment however. And just for the sake of argument, say somewhere down the line a majority of the cabinet agreed it was time. When that got to be known I think there would be a real good chance that the president resign, avoiding the 25th. Certainly IF Congress also lined up against him he would resign. I don't think this president would have the inclination to fight - just speculating though.

Rene Saunce said...

Trump didn't fire everyone like Obama did.

Static Ping said...

We all see what we want to see to some extent. Trying to deal with constant change and challenges is exhausting. Some amount of filtering is absolutely required to function on a daily basis. There is a reason there are so many adages about wise men know they are fools in the general order of things.

That said, I do not think this applies in this case. The New York Times has a known and admitted bias which they are proud to admit until it becomes inconvenient and then claim to be objective journalists. This is not as much as the NYT seeing what they want to see as it is the NYT trying to make other people see what the NYT wants them to see. It is propaganda.

Rene Saunce said...

"If the [Comey] memo exists, then there is compelling evidence that the president committed a potentially impeachable offense."

----

-- No, there isn't. Trump did nothing more than Obama did routinely by pontificating about how he'd like to see legal matters, from local crime stories to the investigation at the IRS. He actually fired an IG, told everyone the guy was senile and refused to refill the position, and no one cared.

Trump saying he hopes that Comey drops an investigation into a guy everyone on both sides of the aisle said did nothing illegal, who had already been fired, seems tame compared to that.



worth a repeat.

The Cracker Emcee said...

A steady diet of comfort food has made the Left fat and lazy. Basically, they're spending their days listening for the tinkle of the ice cream truck.

Brookzene said...

It's not always "seeing what you want to see." A chain of inferences can be used to support what you believe you see.

P) Trump asks Comey if he can back off the Flynn investigation
P) Comey says no.
P) Two weeks later Comey is fired
_________________________________________
C:

No it's not certain but also not "How can you POSSIBLY believe that??

Rene Saunce said...

What a breathless media got wrong about Trump, Comey and Russia this week

Mike said...

Again, IF Comey thought he was being obstructed, then he had a DUTY to immediately report that. In other words, if the NYT interpretation of the memo is correct, then BOTH men committed a crime. If the NYT is wrong, then Comey and his leaking friends are still trying to topple Trump by using the Deep State.

Brookzene said...

"Again, IF Comey thought he was being obstructed, then he had a DUTY to immediately report that"

Just curious where you get that?

Static Ping said...

Chuck: My expectation is the same with that memo, as with the Gorsuch conversation. It will be shown that in fact the memo is exactly as reported. And that Comey will back it up as accurate and true. And that perhaps (because of the way Trump habitually uses words) it won't be an actionable case of obstruction of justice, but the story won't be wrong.

There is an old saying that if you go after the king, you better kill him. If this is some parsing of words nonsense leaked in an attempt to merely cause trouble, Comey should have kept his mouth shut. He's providing perfect retroactive justification of why he should have been fired.

Brookzene said...

But if Comey had gone public in February, the defense from Republicans would have been that Trump just talks like that, and he wasn't trying to obstruct justice, and you shouldn't take him so literally.

And without Trump having taken a concrete step to obstruct justice, such as firing the FBI director, that defense would have worked.

And if Comey had resigned — or had given the president political license to fire him by breaking publicly with him on a high-profile matter — then Trump would have been able to replace him with a loyal supporter who could have sought to kill the Flynn probe more quietly.

If you work for a private firm, and your boss asks you to do something unethical, you are likely to have an ethical obligation to quit. But Comey worked for the American people, and he seems to have understood that his ethical obligation was to stay in place, refuse the unethical request, and keep a paper trail.


- Josh Barro, Business Insider

MayBee said...

The press well remembers the final Bush 43 years, where they could create a scandal out of everything and make the whole country tired of the president.

They turned Katrina into Bush's failure, and kept going from there. And they are starting early in the Trump admin.

Mike said...

Brookzene, even shortening the timeline doesn't produce the inference you think you see.

February 13 Flynn resigns.
February 14 Trump says he hopes Comey can see his way to ending the Flynn investigation.

In between are several other meetings between the two. What happened two weeks later Brooky?

May 3 Comey lies to Congress (again) and refuses to answer questions about Trump because it may reveal classified info.

May 9 Trump fires Comey.

May 12 Comey refuses to testify to closed committee in Senate, a forum in which he would have to reveal the state of Trump associates' dealings with Russia.

May 16 Comey leaks memo to NYT smearing Trump.

Boy that was long "two weeks" wasn't it!

Rusty said...

"Do people like the way the Agencies are running the country?"

To people like ARM and the rest of the usual suspects(Hmm. How many are public sector employees? The lot. No doubt.), this is what democracy means.
The unelected telling the proles to shut up and do what they're told.

Chuck said...

Matthew Sablan said...
...

Also: If it isn't a case of obstruction of justice, the story is ENTIRELY WRONG. That's like saying, "well, Bill's alive, but the story about how you killed Bill isn't wrong."

Oh, that one is a really interesting comment. So Trumpian. That is, the story is somehow "untrue" if Trump didn't really commit criminal obstruction of justice. Anything short of a crime, or an impeachable offense, means Trump was right, essentially.

I never saw this story that way, and I don't now.

I have no idea if Trump committed obstruction of justice. I doubt that he did. I'll be surprised, if the Comey memo (assuming it to be true and accurate) is the basis for a prosecution. There would have to be a lot more, that I am not seeing right now.

But Matthew, absent a prosecution, I still think that the story is interesting. Useful. Revealing. All, about Trump. And moreover, I think it merits investigation. At least, it ought to be part of a Congressional investigation as to why Trump fired Comey. And that investigation is necessitated in large part because Trump and his administration have been so abjectly incompetent in articulating a reason why Comey was fired.

You see, Matthew; Trump keeps bringing these things on himself. On step after another, in his own piles of shit. Are there tapes? I want an investigation. Because Trump raised the issue. Why was Comey fired? I want an investigation. Because Trump contradicted his own VP and communications staff. Why did Flynn remain as long as he did? I want an investigation, because Trump hasn't come close to giving a good reason. Will Trump's immigration orders be enforced? It's an open question, mostly because Trump said such stupid things during the campaign.

Again and again and again. Trump, saying and doing dumbshit stuff that will prevent real stuff getting done.

Brookzene said...

"The press well remembers the final Bush 43 years, where they could create a scandal out of everything and make the whole country tired of the president."

Again accepting responsibility is anathema to the GOP.

Mike said...

Brokkzene:

Under the law, Comey is required to immediately inform the Department of Justice of any attempt to obstruct justice by any person, even the President of the United States. Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against Comey. (18 USC 4 and 28 USC 1361) He would also, upon sufficient proof, lose his license to practice law.

Brookzene said...

@Mike Thx

Matthew Sablan said...

"That is, the story is somehow "untrue" if Trump didn't really commit criminal obstruction of justice. Anything short of a crime, or an impeachable offense, means Trump was right, essentially."

-- No. The only reason Comey wrote the memo is to allege obstruction of justice. If no obstruction happened, which Comey would know, then it calls into question WHY he wrote the memo. You're reasoning from a flawed start: That we should investigate why a known liar, who no one liked, was fired. Trump's administration hasn't been incompetent in explaining; Americans just have trouble understanding that "many" reasons exist for his firing.

The only reason we care about this memo is the media tells us Trump obstructed justice. Without any obstruction, we're just looking at a weird memo that is essentially meeting minutes from dinner.

Comey was fired for publicly stated reasons. If you don't believe or like those reasons, tough. You got more than you actually need; Trump needed no reason to do it.

Why did Flynn remain as long as he did? Because Trump didn't trust Yates and had to independently verify her accusations. Something you'd know if you listened; Trump didn't just run off and do what was suggested without verifying.

There is no reason for an investigation into either Comey's firing [it obstructed no justice, impacted the investigation in no way, was completely legal, and you have many reasons to pick from] or the delay in Flynn's firing [Trump's team verified accusations instead of acting on accusations without proof.]

Matthew Sablan said...

"Oh, that one is a really interesting comment. So Trumpian. That is, the story is somehow "untrue" if Trump didn't really commit criminal obstruction of justice."

-- The story is, Trump obstructed justice. If he didn't, yes. The story is wrong. Just like if I'm accused of murder, and the person isn't even dead.

Brookzene said...

I'm not a lawyer but it seems like a stretch to say those two laws require Comey to report what Trump said to him. 18 USC 4 may indicate he has to report to himself I suppose. I'll defer to the lawyers. However, since no one else seems to seriously be making this argument, I'm betting there's nothing to it.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Why is there a Nancy Grace tag on this post?

Brookzene said...

We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
Anais Nin

CStanley said...

I think it's interesting that the NYT is coming so close to admitting that what they do is create propaganda to get their readers to see events in a way that fits their agenda.

Mike said...

So, if Comey believed Trump attempted to obstruct justice, did he comply with the law by reporting it to the DOJ? If not, it calls into question whether the events occurred as the Times reported it.

Obstruction requires what’s called “specific intent” to interfere with a criminal case. If Comey concluded, however, that Trump’s language was vague, ambiguous or elliptical, then he has no duty under the law to report it because it does not rise to the level of specific intent. Thus, no crime.

There is no evidence Comey ever alerted officials at the Justice Department, as he is duty-bound to do. Surely if he had, that incriminating information would have made its way to the public either by an indictment or, more likely, an investigation that could hardly be kept confidential in the intervening months.


-- former defense attorney Gregg Jarrett

AReasonableMan said...

Charles Cooke said...
As always Douthat is worth reading. But I think that missing from his piece is a serious attempt to grapple with just how much of a psychic shock such a move would inflict upon this country – especially on those voters who backed and liked Donald Trump.

I have for a long while believed that Trump is unfit for office, and, as such, I do not disagree with all — or even most — of Douthat’s characterizations. In addition, I continue to think that this president is his own worst enemy: The press is hostile, yes, but Trump seems utterly hellbent on making things difficult for himself. Nevertheless, at this point in American history — a point at which large numbers of voters in both parties believe that the system is “rigged” – for the president to be undone by a small group of establishment Republicans and replaced with a career politician would be disastrous for the culture.

If it turns out that Trump has done something terrible while in office, he should be impeached by the usual process. If he finds that he no longer likes or wants the job, he should resign. But a legalized coup on the nebulous grounds of “witlessness” would be an invitation for discord the likes of which we have not seen in a while.


I largely agree with this, but it is a difficult situation. Trump clearly can't govern effectively or even stop shooting himself in the foot. Four years of this chaos will be hard on the country. The Democrats need to take a deep breath and put country first. They need to find common ground with the Red Team whereby they place joint constraints on Trump and then patiently wait until the country gets a do-over in 2020. Everyone needs to dial down the outrage at this point.

Brookzene said...

That's a sobering piece from Cook as well. This is really difficult, and both sides of the aisles need to work together. Country first.

MayBee said...

Trump clearly can't govern effectively

What is your basis for saying that?

Birkel said...

Leftists: We reject and resist the Trump agenda.
Leftists: Trump is not moving his promised agenda.
Leftists: Trump cannot govern effectively.
Leftists: We need to impeach Trump and get President Pence, who has a similar agenda that we reject and resist.

Does anybody else see a flaw in this strategy?

AReasonableMan said...

MayBee said...
What is your basis for saying that?


The last four months. What goal that is specifically Trump's, not the pre-existing goals of the Republicans but something that Trump ran on has been advanced? The SC appointment doesn't count, any R president would have done that and it was primarily a victory for McConnell.

Trump ran on improving manufacturing and middle class lives, specifically the lives of rural whites. What has he done to effectively move the ball forward on this front? What evidence exists that he will ever be effective on this front, almost his entire agenda in this area is opposed by mainstream Republicans?

MayBee said...

I'm more conservative. I rate success more on what new thing *hasn't* been done.

I believe we can get tax reform and I'm hoping they can clean up health insurance policy. I don't hold out a lot of hope, because I think our governmental system needs a huge shake up.
And it seems Trump is doing that pretty effectively, considering all the squealing from the stuck pigs.

Matthew Sablan said...

"What goal that is specifically Trump's, not the pre-existing goals of the Republicans but something that Trump ran on has been advanced? The SC appointment doesn't count, any R president would have done that and it was primarily a victory for McConnell."

-- Well, some political prisoners were freed, European nations are contributing more to their defense, illegal immigration is being improved/looked at, an average of 19,000 jobs "were added in the three months through February, and that is the best three months for hiring by manufacturers since late 2014, according to government data."

Do you... do you actually keep up with current events?

Michael K said...

"almost his entire agenda in this area is opposed by mainstream Republicans?"

They call this "concern trolling." The leftist who opposes anything the GOP might want tells us that we are being obstructed by our elected president when, in fact, a lot of Republicans who did not vote for him are now expressing satisfaction with what he is doing.

Among his agenda items are repealing Obamacare, repealing hundreds of Obama regulations, oil pipelines opened, LNG shipments approved.

That's only the first four months.

buwaya said...

Several things -
For one, he has taken down the active prosecution of regulatory expansion. EPA activity is way down. Less communication/harassment from the EPA and, apparently, less interest in entertaining third party and intervenor suits.
And etc.
US manufacturing employment is very notably up, as per both the BLS and ADP.
For another, illegal immigration is way down, through intimidation and well publicized enforcement actions by the DOJ.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Of the 235,000 jobs added in February, 28,000 were in manufacturing, a sector that had added only 7,000 jobs year-over-year. There were 8,000 mining jobs added that month, bringing total hiring in the sector to 20,000 since it hit a low in October."

But, yeah. Nothing under Trump has helped manufacturing.

Birkel said...

@ ARM, taking a break from racism, so called

Your argument is my #2 above. I think I will self-refer to my 9:51 AM to save time these next few weeks.

FullMoon said...

There will be a memo. This is like Trump saying something apparently stupid, getting everyone talking about it, then being proven correct.
It is a classic set-up. Everyone asking if the memo exists, setting up the conclusion that if it exists, it must be true. It does exist, but it is lawerly Comey's interpretation of the conversation. The notes he is possibly saving for his future biography.

Maybe the longer discussion revolved around the facts in the case, and if the facts warranted, the case could be dropped in a reasonable time frame.



AReasonableMan said...

It's over guys. Just relax and let the adults take charge again. Trump was a false god.

I feel bad for you guys. You took a risk and placed a lot of faith in an unknown quantity. To quote Birkel's hero Al Campanis, 'he lacks the necessities'.

Matthew Sablan said...

"You took a risk and placed a lot of faith in an unknown quantity."

-- I'm not a huge Trump fan, but the real problem is that the alternative was literally someone who sold uranium to the people she know recognizes as geopolitical foes and who was in every other way incompetent. Better the wild card who may not be 100% a failure than the person who you know will sell you out every chance they get.

Brookzene said...

I think the mainstream Repubs would desperately love to be rid of him in favor of Pence, but they are frightened of the backlash from this group for instance.

Brookzene said...

"alternative was literally someone who sold uranium to the people she know recognizes as geopolitical foes"

*cough* Snopes

Birkel said...

@ ARM
That is a clever way of calling me racist. Good one. Maybe go with Marge Schott next. Funny has racism is always descending on conservatives but manages to land directly on Leftists.I

Every. Time.

tcrosse said...

It's over guys. Just relax and let the adults take charge again. Trump was a false god.

Trump's had more political obituaries than I've had hot breakfasts.

Matthew Sablan said...

What about Snopes? They acknowledge the key facts: "Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved the transfer of 20% of America’s uranium holdings to Russia, while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation."

Despite not having a "Veto" power, she could have done many things if she honestly believed Russia was a problem, like not accepting huge amounts of money or empowering them like this. She didn't. Because she didn't think those things until it was convenient.

Was there a quid-pro-quo (what Snopes is ACTUALLY debunking, not that the transfer happened?) Maybe, maybe not. We'll never know. The evidence for it though is stronger than "RUSSIA HAXORED THE ELECTION."

Dixie_Sugarbaker said...

The FBI had publicly cleared Flynn of having links to Russia at the end of January and before he resigned. What investigation was ongoing February 14th that the memo could be referencing? That date is prior to the reports that Flynn failed to disclose payments from foreign governments, and there is no evidence the WH knew of that at the time of this alleged meeting. So what investigation was there involving Flynn?

Matthew Sablan said...

Also, per another fact check: "And as FactCheck.org noted in a related fact check, while any of the nine agencies could have objected to the deal, only President Barack Obama had the power to veto it."

So, again. If she believed it was a problem, she could have created a paper trail showing it. She didn't. She also accepted a whole lot of money.

Remember when it was important to avoid even the appearance of impropriety?

Pookie Number 2 said...

Just relax and let the adults take charge again. Trump was a false god.

There really is no shortage of Trump's character flaws, but the system under the 'adults' also entailed vast and increasing amounts of macroeconomic inefficiency, managerial incompetence, and small-bore corruption, which also matter.

The associated frustration won't disappear if Trump is forced out.

Matthew Sablan said...

If you want to force Trump out, he has to something more egregious than Clinton or Obama. Which thus far, he has not done.

Brookzene said...

@Pookie is right.

Matthew Sablan said...

But hey, that's why I said the left should hold their people to higher standards. What did I say before, and will love getting the chance to repeat?

The left chopped down the entire forest of laws to get at the devil, and now they are looking for something to use against the very devil they unleashed.

AReasonableMan said...

Pookie Number 2 said...
There really is no shortage of Trump's character flaws, but the system under the 'adults' also entailed vast and increasing amounts of macroeconomic inefficiency, managerial incompetence, and small-bore corruption, which also matter.

The associated frustration won't disappear if Trump is forced out.


I agree, but Trump is clearly not the answer and I don't think he should be forced out, as noted above.

Darrell said...

Fuck the Left.

Birkel said...

Trump is "clearly" not the answer.

"Moar Leftism" is the answer.

Any old question will do.

Grab your carry on.

Earnest Prole said...

We see what we're looking for. If you doubt that, take this test.

MayBee said...

Have you guys seen Ross Douthat's tweets today?

Rene Saunce said...

It's over folks. David Rodham Gergen wants to Impeach Trump, for obstruction of justice and hate, but mostly hate.

n.n said...

Is it a baby or a colorful clump of cells. The jury is still out on this one.

Michael K said...

More information on the war on Trump by the left.

The petition that garnered more than 50,000 signatures opposing Mrs. DeVos’s commencement address wasn’t started by students and alumni but by the Florida affiliate of the National Education Association, the nation’s biggest and richest teachers union. And it was a state chapter of the NAACP that hired lawyers for the effort and actively helped organize the protests. Both the teachers union and the civil-rights organization oppose Mrs. DeVos because she supports school choice. Never mind that large majorities of black families have long sided with the secretary on this matter, according to polls.

These protests are Astroturf by the usual suspects.

buwaya puti said...

Snopes has a formula.
When they can't for political reasons rule "true", they redefine the point as narrowly as they can to show that some detail does not fit their definition.
This is transparent to anyone who cares to analyze these things.
They give themselves an out by conceding the larger point somewhere in the body of their analysis, but the usual patron will not read that far, and, more so, would be incapable or unwilling to grasp it.

Rene Saunce said...

Is being a bullshitter a crime worthy of Impeachment?

Is so - Impeach away!

Inga said...

"The left chopped down the entire forest of laws to get at the devil, and now they are looking for something to use against the very devil they unleashed."

Absolutely no. You people unleashed this beast on us. He would've never ever become the Democratic candidate for President had he run as a Democrat. This beast resonated with you folks, not us. What he said was anathema to us, you people ate it up, loved it and loved him. He is your doing. Now we have to clean up your TrumpMess.

Brando said...

"Is being a bullshitter a crime worthy of Impeachment?"

Congress impeaches for whatever reason Congress wants. It's a political remedy, not a legal one.

And for that reason there won't be an impeachment. Trump still gets high ratings among Republicans, and that's the only number GOP reps and Senators look at.

Now, if the Dems took the House back in 2018 but not the Senate, they could (and probably would) impeach, but not remove, unless one thing happened--if Trump's support among Republicans drops significantly, all bets are off. But in today's polarized environment, I'd bet against that.

MayBee said...

He would've never ever become the Democratic candidate for President had he run as a Democrat.

Ha!! Right? I mean, Democrats were busy putting forth Hillary Clinton!!!!!

Brando said...

"If you want to force Trump out, he has to something more egregious than Clinton or Obama. Which thus far, he has not done."

No, he has to do something that would make Republicans decide it was egregious enough for them to abandon him.

Inga said...

Hillary Clinton looks like Pollyanna compared to Trump.


"BUT! BUT! BUT the SERVER!!! " Laughable already.

Darrell said...

Faux outrage by the Left.

What else is new?

Ann Althouse said...

"Why is there a Nancy Grace tag on this post?"

LOL

Will fix

You never hear about Nancy anymore.

AReasonableMan said...

MayBee said...
Have you guys seen Ross Douthat's tweets today?


There is another prescription that I think is better. There is broad agreement that the presidency has become too powerful. Trump's presidency illustrates for everyone the dangers of this preeminence. A bipartisan effort by congress to pare back the powers of the presidency would be both reassuring at this time of uncertainty and reduce the ability of Trump to do real damage.

Michael K said...

"You people unleashed this beast on us. "

Says the Hillary voter.

I doubt the Democrat civil war will succeed but I am a bit depressed to see the usual suspects, like McCain and some other GOPe traitors weakening.

I'm with Scott Adams on this one.

I also think we are seeing with the recent leaks the first phase of Mutually Assured Destruction of our government. The leaks will destroy Trump if they continue. But if that happens, no Democrat and no anti-Trump Republican will ever be able to govern in the future. Payback is guaranteed. The next President to sit in the White House will be leaked to the point of ineffectiveness. And that’s how the Republic dies.

This is a war by the intelligence agencies by any president who would try to rein them in. I doubt Hillary would have tried and she was probably content with the title and the graft that would be available. Any president that would try to run the country would most likely be destroyed.

You lefties think you will run things but you are fools. Although, if you were just content with bread and circuses you might be OK.

That's mostly what the left is about now. So were the Venezuelans.

Michael K said...

A bipartisan effort by congress to pare back the powers of the presidency would be both reassuring at this time of uncertainty and reduce the ability of Trump to do real damage.

You silly fool. Do you think the bureaucracy would let Congress run things ?

Darrell said...

The Left made allefations against Trump.

We have to take them seriously then.
Wait. No, we don't.

Gahrie said...

A bipartisan effort by congress to pare back the powers of the presidency would be both reassuring at this time of uncertainty and reduce the ability of Trump to do real damage.

But only until the next Democrat is elected president of course...

Inga said...

"Says the Hillary voter."

Wrong.

"Although, if you were just content with bread and circuses ...."

Says the Trump voter. Oh the irony.

Darrell said...

"Says the Hillary voter."

Wrong.


Ms. Pussy Hat didn't vote for Hillary? Oh, the irony!

Brookzene said...

Trump at Coast Guard Commencement:
"No politician in history…has been treated worse or more unfairly"

Don't blame this on anyone but Trump.

tcrosse said...

He would've never ever become the Democratic candidate for President had he run as a Democrat.

Neither would anyone else. The DNC rigged the nomination for Hillary. Period.

Darrell said...

You can judge a man by his enemies.
Trump has all the right ones.

Darrell said...

ARM's charge--
Trump didn't solve thirty years of problems in four months.
Surprising.

AReasonableMan said...

Brookzene said...
Trump at Coast Guard Commencement:
"No politician in history…has been treated worse or more unfairly"


Abraham Lincoln and JFK were unavailable for comment.

AReasonableMan said...

Blogger Darrell said...
Trump didn't solve thirty years of problems in four months.


The problem is that he is creating a whole new set of avoidable problems while passively advancing the failed policies of the Republican leadership when he was supposedly going to clean house and bring fresh policies to the table.

buwaya puti said...

Trumps fresh policies, those not in the Republican party consensus, notably immigration restrictions, are the real cause of all the genuine and manufactured outrage. It's not his style, it is his substance.

That and the open threat to all the regulation - manufactured fortunes. He is uncontrolled by the interests that have long had leverage with the Fedgov.

buwaya puti said...

Lincoln and JFK got what they were due as executives, from the executive agencies and etc. Even in a civil war.
Both were murdered by lone wolves. Reagan came within inches also.
This is not the sort of resistance Trump is facing. He is fighting a total institutional rejection.
He may yet face some lone wolf assassin also, but that is a separate matter.

Pookie Number 2 said...

The problem is that he is creating a whole new set of avoidable problems while passively advancing the failed policies of the Republican leadership when he was supposedly going to clean house and bring fresh policies to the table.

Some of that's true. I don't think you're giving him enough credit for rolling back job-strangling regulations and for putting an actual judge - rather than a legislator - on the Supreme Court, but his antics are definitely making it harder for him (or anyone) to improve the economy.

Alas, in our system, you must vote for the lesser of the two evils you face, not the lesser of the two evils you wish you had.

Inga said...

Breaking news...

Justice Department appointed Robert Mueller Special Prosecutor in the Russia Investigations. Good step in the right direction.

Michael K said...

"He is uncontrolled by the interests that have long had leverage with the Fedgov."

Yes and that is the war being waged using fools like Inga as pawns.

I don't know now how it will turn out. I was optimistic but McCain and Burr and some other Republicans seem to be turning on his administration and going for the graft.

If Trump goes down, it will be the end of democracy in this country,. NO president will ever be able to govern.

Jim at said...

"You took a risk and placed a lot of faith in an unknown quantity."

Nope. No faith at all.
Simply holding our nose and voting against that vile, corrupt bitch you put on the ballot.

Jim at said...

"Now we have to clean up your TrumpMess."

You aren't cleaning up a damn thing.
You're doing nothing but screaming like children in hopes someone will pay attention to you.