June 9, 2017

Blogging this morning is not as light as it looks.

I'm working — perhaps way too hard — on finishing a post I began last night, "Let's read the Comey transcript." I've been republishing that post, adding things to it as I make my way through the transcript.

Here's what I just added this morning:
On to Roy Blunt, who needles Comey about why he was willing to keep working under Trump. Comey affirms that if he hadn't been fired, he'd still be working under Trump. Blunt suggests that the story Comey is telling today is the view "in retrospect," influenced by his having been fired. He didn't resign and, before the firing, he didn't let the Justice Department know about his misgivings.

Comey says that "at some point... I was sure we were going to brief it to the [Justice Department] team in charge of the case." And, Comey notes, he tried to keep the Attorney General from getting "kicked out of the room." He said to the Attorney General "I report to you. It is very important you be between me and the white house."

Blunt gets back to the subject of Comey's leaking the memo about the Flynn conversation.
BLUNT: So you didn't consider your memo or your sense of that conversation to be a government document. You considered it to be, somehow, your own personal document that you could share to the media as you wanted through a friend?

COMEY: Correct. I understood this to be my recollection recorded of my conversation with the president. As a private citizen, I thought it important to get it out.... My view was that the content of those unclassified, memorialization of those conversations was my recollection recorded.

BLUNT: So why didn't you give those to somebody yourself rather than give them through a third party?

COMEY: Because I was [wary] the media was camping at the end of my driveway at that point. I was actually going out of town with my wife to hide. I worried it would be [like] feeding seagulls at the beach[, i]f it was I who gave it to the media. I asked my friend, make sure this gets out.
I had to go back to the video to understand the "feeding seagulls at the beach" remark. The bracketed material you see there is my correction of the transcript. I'm using Politico's transcript, by the way, and the mistakes, notably in punctuation, are irritating. The comma after "beach" is crucial to understanding. It's also important that the word was "wary," not, as Politico has it, "weary." Comey wasn't tired of the press, but vigilant. They were like seagulls, flocking where they anticipated feeding, and Comey didn't want to appear to be feeding these scavengers or didn't want to reward them for hanging out in his driveway.

Blunt hasn't got enough time left to do anything but muse that Comey "create[d] a source close to the former director of the FBI as opposed to taking responsibility yourself." Yes, but so what? Was this another instance of a failure of courage? Is Comey improperly tending to his personal image?

Angus King — an Independent who caucuses with the Democrats — goes next. There's what sounds like a rehearsed dialogue that gets bungled (perhaps because Comey doesn't trust King to get his line out):
KING: [W]hen a president of the United States in the Oval Office says something like, I hope or I suggest or would you, do you take that as a directive?

COMEY: Yes. It rings in my ear as, well, will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest.

KING: I was just going to quote that, in 1179, December 27th, Henry II said, who will rid me of the meddlesome priest, and the next day, he was killed. [Thomas a Becket.] Exactly the same situation. We're thinking along the same lines.
The bracketed name is heard in the video but missing (with no indication of an omission) in the Politico transcript. Lame.

King's "Exactly the same situation" is a tad overeager. And he screws up the quote. Not only is what Trump said not "exactly the same," Comey's quote "will no one rid me..." isn't even exactly the same as King's version "who will rid me...." In Senator King's version, Henry is asking who will do it. In Comey's version, Henry is expressing displeasure that it may not happen. Who got the quote right? It's not clear exactly what Henry said all those many years ago. There's no recorded recollection memo, but an oral tradition.

According to Wikipedia, the most common quote is "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" but according to the historian Simon Schama, what Henry really said was: "What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric?"

We don't really know what Henry said, but we do know that it was taken as a directive to kill Thomas Beckett. And the analogue here is that Comey took Trump's remark as a directive. The puzzle remains whether it was a directive. We should all understand that leaders may express themselves in enigmatic ways that are useful to keep themselves above the fray but that the underlings know how to interpret. We still need to think carefully about particular assertions that something that wasn't said was implied.

Next is Senator Lankford, who wonders why Trump used such a light touch if he really wanted to stop the investigation. Why not be explicit? It is that "he doesn't have the authority"?
COMEY: I'm not a legal scholar, [so smarter people answer this better,] but as a legal matter, the president is the head of the executive branch and could direct, in theory, we have important norms against this, but [direct that anybody be investigated or anybody not be investigated]. I think he has the legal authority. All of us ultimately report in the executive branch to the president.
If the President can do that but didn't, does that mean he didn't want his vague expression to be taken as a directive? That would have been my follow up, and I assume that Comey would have said Trump may have found it more convenient to avoid taking responsibility for the action if Comey had done what Trump wanted....

143 comments:

Rene Saunce said...

Is it any wonder this creep let Hillary off the hook?

Snark said...

Rather than "thinking carefully" about Trump's clear attempt at interference, let's blog John McCain's contributions. We can all laugh hysterically together at the standard intone of "the senator's time has expired".

Ann Althouse said...

I am going through the transcript in order.

Anything before this segment will be found in last night's post.

Anything after it -- such as McCain -- hasn't yet been reached. You'll have to be a little patient.

I am preferring to work through it myself rather than read the various pundits, who are annoying me. I'll get my annoyance from the primary source.

Amadeus 48 (more demonic than TRUMP) said...

One of the best moments yesterday was when Comey attempted to cloak his injured amour-propre by saying that his leak was inspired by Trump's "lying about the FBI". Any reasonably objective observer would see this as the Deep State in action: "The Outsider who happens to reside temporarily in the White House doesn't respect the Organs of the State and must be destroyed, so I will destroy him."

Trump should have asked Comey to resign on Day 1 after Comey's performance over the course of his career. He clearly sees himself as one of the wardens of the government apparatus with a mission to protect it from political accountability. He is dangerous to our form of government. Thank God he is out.

sinz52 said...

The director of the FBI just called Trump a vindictive liar on nationwide TV.

That wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that it's consistent with all the OTHER evidence that Trump really is a vindictive liar.

As for Trump's "enigmatic statements," when that's happened to me, I've always told my boss that "I really don't understand what you're suggesting here. Please send me an email that explains it in more detail and I'll do my best to handle it."

IOW: PUT IT IN WRITING!

David Begley said...

Comey droned Trump with his leak.

Ann Althouse said...

"Trump should have asked Comey to resign on Day 1 after Comey's performance over the course of his career."

I think, based on Comey's testimony, that Trump thought he could work with Comey and gave him a tryout. Comey failed. Comey now wants to portray it as a failing in Trump. But we can see that Comey wanted to keep his job, and tried to some extent to please Trump. And he sure didn't resign.

sinz52 said...

Amadeus 48: "He [Comey] is dangerous to our form of government. "

So far, Comey has only proven dangerous to Hillary and Trump.

Comey has done nothing to damage "our form of government."

In fact, you could make a plausible case that damaging Hillary and Trump *strengthens* our constitutional government.

Trump can go jump in the lake, as far as I'm concerned. He's a disgrace: President Queeg.

khesanh0802 said...

Ann, I am awed by your patience working through this farce. I will keep reading, but my opinion of Comey can't go any farther than the rock-bottom it has already reached.

Martin said...

Re the Comey "leak"--is there no longer such a thing as executive privilege?

imho, avoiding executive privilege is the real reason Comey did sent that memo out as he did.

Comey is and always was a weasel. Which is not to say trump is a paragon.

khesanh0802 said...

I am hoping that Senate Judiciary subpoenas Comey so that can talk about the Hillary "investigation".

I thought Trump's tweet was quite controlled. A new day?

DKWalser said...

Comey, who was the number 2 man in the Justice Department and, before that, a federal prosecutor, doesn't know obstruction of justice when he sees it? I'm calling BS. He knows it wasn't obstruction. He just wants to leave the impression that it might have been. In a similar vein, he didn't want to "lift the cloud" of suspicion over the President's actions by publicly stating that Trump wasn't a subject of their investigation. He wanted to leave the impression that he might be.

All of this reminds me of the special prosecutor (appointed by Comey) in the Valerie Plame investigation. He knew within a few days of starting the investigation who the leaker was and that no crime had been committed. But, the objective was to keep the Bush White House under a cloud of suspicion to weaken Bush. It was an abuse of power. But that was okay, since their objectives were pure. Comey can leak the details of his private conversations with the President (despite the fact that these conversations were protected by privilege that could only be waived by the President) because his motives were pure. Little things like a legal and ethical duty to protect privileged materials have to give way to the weight of pure intentions.

Owen said...

Prof. A: thank you for this excellent exegesis. It could easily balloon into a book, but in fact this is a new mode of collective engagement: transcript + blog + comments.

Richard Steel said...


The only thing Trump is guilty of is of winning an election--and of despising and being despised by elite ologopolists and and rent-seekers who trade on access to government, the wealthy, and the powerful.

Trump's saying once in passing that "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go" and then never mentioning it again, nor having anyone else ever mention it again or follow-up on it, is laughable as a charge of obstruction against him.

On the other hand, Loretta Lynch waiting to meet in secret with Clinton in private (except for Lynch's husband) on the tarmac, and then ordering Comey to distort his language in explicit coordination with the misleading language used by the Clinton campaign, does sound like unethical and possibly illegal collusion. Did Lynch think of ordering Comey to do that on her own? Unlikely. So who ordered her to do it?

Richard Steel said...

Comey claims the memos he wrote after meeting with Trump, one of which he leaked to the New York Times, were his own property and not FBI documents or government property. This is an extremely dubious assertion, given that he wrote them on an FBI laptop, in an FBI vehicle, for official purposes and while engaged on FBI business (meeting with the President).

However, if one grants his assertion, then Comey is in even more trouble because he also testified that some of these memos contain classified information. So, if the documents were in fact his private, personal property and some of them also contain classified information then he is guilty of transferring classified government information into his own personal possession for his own personal use--surely a violation of FBI procedures and certainly a crime.

Michael McClain said...

Comey's a Major League wuss.

Amadeus 48 (more demonic than TRUMP) said...

The fact that there was no follow up by Trump about Flynn should pretty much answer the question of how much of a directive this was.
I do think that Trump fired Comey because the "Russia" investigation dragged on but Comey would not clear Trump publicly. Trump probably thought Comey was being coy because Comey hoped to drag Trump into the Russian morass, after Comey had told him three times that he wasn't the subject of an investigation.
And we can see how that turned out. The Russian collusion scenario has fallen apart (says Chris Matthews), so on to obstruction of justice, which really is not a legal issue (see the pardon power), but a political one.

William said...

Trump is a bombastic liar. This is a refreshing change from the calculated and manipulative lies told by Hillary. The gold standard for attractive liars is Bill Clinton. How could Hillary have spent all that time in Bill's company and not learn how to lie personably and convincingly?

Hagar said...

Clapper, Brennan, et al., is the "Deep State" in action, but I think Comey may be flying solo.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ann Althouse said...

I'll get my annoyance from the primary source.

We, your commentors, will do our best to contribute.

William said...

Comey has gained hero status among the left. That's where the big money for speaking engagements and book contracts come from. He's a net winner from that testimony.......The people who hate Trump have some more bones to chew on, but nothing Comey said indicates that Trump is guilty of any crime.

Hagar said...

However, if one grants his assertion, then Comey is in even more trouble because he also testified that some of these memos contain classified information. So, if the documents were in fact his private, personal property and some of them also contain classified information then he is guilty of transferring classified government information into his own personal possession for his own personal use--surely a violation of FBI procedures and certainly a crime.

"Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!"

Lynch did not "wait for Clinton on the tarmac;" it was the other way around.

Paul Zrimsek said...

If Henry had drones he should have been able to rid himself of turbulent priests.

Bob Boyd said...

According to Dershowitz, a President can't be accused of obstruction since he has the power to order any of his underlings to drop any investigation. The only price he would pay would be political.

Which begs the question, did Obama instruct his underlings, Lynch, Comey, to make sure Hillary was exonerated? Why was it so important to call the Hillary inquiry a "matter" not an "investigation"? Purely for PR or to avoid accusations of obstruction?

Comey now wants to portray himself as this boy scout, shocked by Trump's remarks to him about Flynn, but where was his fine sense of propriety when Lynch met with Bill Clinton?
And why did Comey hurry home to make notes on his Trump meeting, yet there is no record of a 4 hour formal interview with Hillary?

Unknown said...

Like Richard Steel, I'm puzzled by the "private citizen" excuse for leaking the memo. A private citizen would not be invited into the Oval Office for that sort of conversation. As for them being an "unclassified, memorialization of those conversations" doesn't Comey really mean "not marked classified"? ((c) H. Clinton, 2016)

Ignorance is Bliss said...

One thing that Comey's testamony made clear was what Trump meant when he said Comey was fired over the Russia investigation. According to Comey, Trump made clear that he wanted Russian interference investigated, because it would clear him and his associates. And if it didn't clear his associates, that would be good to know.

Trump also asked Comey to publicly state that Trump was not under investigation. This would be a true statement. It would in no way compromise, inhibit, or obstruct the investigation. There was no legal reason for Comey to not make that statement. And it would make it easier for the administration to pursue their policies.

Comey would not. That is a firing offense.

clint said...

So if Comey believed:
1) The President has the legal authority to direct him to drop an investigation.
and
2) It was his feeling (as blared in headlines this morning) that the President's vaguely worded hope *was* a direction to drop an investigation.

Then,
3) Why didn't Director Comey follow what he believed to be a lawful direction from his superior?

(My guess is that he didn't really feel ordered to do anything, he just felt vaguely uncomfortable with the conversation.)

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Reassuring the suspect that he's not under investigation is an old policeman's trick. I would have asked Comey why these file memos he was writing didn't constitute investigative notes. Following the spin, it would seem he was personally investigating Donal Trump. No FBI investigation, a personal Comey investigation.

Amadeus 48 (more demonic than TRUMP) said...

"Comey has done nothing to damage "our form of government.""

I guess that depends on how you feel about senior appointed officers of the Department of Justice selectively using knowledge gained through the Department's resources to maintain their bureaucratic privileges. Also, how you feel about using one's own self-regard as a yardstick for influencing political outcomes. If you like that, you like Comey.

rhhardin said...

McCain's questions are supposed to have been good.

Snark said...

There was a focus group on CNN last night who watched the testimony together in the morning and then returned in the evening to discuss their impressions on air. They were in Ohio and there were 9 (or 11?) people - something like that. To a person they thought Trump was the winner on the day, they thought more of him now than they even had before, and that Comey was either a flat out liar or had misunderstood or mischaracterized Trump's words. Delusion in the heartland.

Bob Boyd said...

I wonder if J. Edgar Hoover regarded the special files he kept for leverage as his personal property or property of the FBI.

Amadeus 48 (more demonic than TRUMP) said...

Snark--I know the truth hurts. Be brave.

traditionalguy said...

In the first hour the Dow is up a hundred points. Oh, no. It's another Trump Won Rally.

And the world weeps. Can no one rid the Global Cabal of this troublesome Andy Jackson type American. And the entire CIA trained and equipped wet work teams start practicing.

That is why we need real men in FBI and NSA leadership.

Snark said...

"McCain's questions are supposed to have been good."

If they were intended as a combination senior's home application and stroke performance art.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Snark,

Winner: Reality

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Snark said...

To a person they thought Trump was the winner on the day, they thought more of him now than they even had before, and that Comey was either a flat out liar or had misunderstood or mischaracterized Trump's words. Delusion in the heartland.

The stock market appears to agree that Trump was the big winner of the hearings.

Snark said...

"Snark--I know the truth hurts. Be brave."

There's this song called "Alana Loves Me", and par of the chorus is "Be brave". To this day, I can hear nothing but "Pea Brain" in those lyrics. So on your inspiration I will amend my observations to say that there appears to be at least 9 (or 11?) pea brains in the heartland.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Comey, who was the number 2 man in the Justice Department and, before that, a federal prosecutor, doesn't know obstruction of justice when he sees it?"

-- When he and McCabe testified a few weeks ago, they were sure it wasn't obstruction. Life comes at you fast, I guess.

J2 said...

Hagar

I am surprised anyone could believe for a second that the TarMac encounter was not pre-planned?
The only reason we know about it is because a local Phoenix TV reporter had a friend who called and told him Clinton was in the airport.
The story is not from CNN.

Snark said...

"Winner: Reality"

Trump: Donald

But honestly, 9 (or 11) people sharing a delusion is not a win for reality. It's a win for decades of social science research maybe, but not reality.

Amadeus 48 (more demonic than TRUMP) said...

Snark- Now you have resorted to name calling. Tsk, tsk.

rcocean said...

Not only did Trump NOT give an explicit order, but if it was an order, he would've followed up with Comey to see if it got carried out. And of course, expressed displeasure when it wasn't.

That's what my boss does. That's what almost every boss does. With an order.

Trump didn't do that. He made a vague "I hope statement" and never brought it up again.

rcocean said...

This isn't the first time Comey has been a drama queen in public. Go read his 2007 testimony.

rcocean said...

How could a POTUS or AG stop any rouge FBI investigation -if to do so - was "Obstruction of Justice"?

MadisonMan said...

The Tarmac meeting stank to high heaven. I give thanks weekly that a Phoenix reporter documented it.

I'm not following Comey's testimony. The reaction in my Facebook feed is predictable. My assumption is that it's Much Ado about Nothing Much.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Snark, I think you should keep calling people in the heartlands delusional pea-brains. It's a great strategy and will surely convince them to vote Dem.

rcocean said...

McCain was incoherent. Whether purposely or thru senility.

Of course, he was in a box. As a "Maverick" he wanted to support Comey and attack Trump, but that would've been too much for Republican colleagues.

So, he just asked a lot of incoherent off topic questions. And of course, he was involved in giving Comey the Dossier.

Rene Saunce said...

McCain was incoherent, but if you listen - he made the big point that covers it all. There is a double standard.

Democrats are above the law. R's - get raked over nothingburgers.

robother said...

Will no one rid me of these witless Beltway drones? So, Trump is King Henry II, Flynn is Thomas a Beckett, and Trump is hoping that his knights go easy on him. Undeterred, the stolid Sir Comey is determined to bring back the head of Flynn.

sakredkow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rene Saunce said...

Alan Dershowitz: History, precedent and James Comey's opening statement show that Trump did not obstruct justice

Snark said...

"Snark, I think you should keep calling people in the heartlands delusional pea-brains. It's a great strategy and will surely convince them to vote Dem."

When 9 of 9 (or 11 of 11?) people see some version of the same thing that is not supported by either common sense or available evidence (who's more likely to be the liar, really) I think there is a good argument for delusion. The pea brain part was Amadeaus 48's fault. :p

Rene Saunce said...

One of the Democrat fem-o-hacks compared Trump to a gun-point robbery. "hope"

I was listening - not watching. I don't know who it was.


Ann Althouse said...

"According to Dershowitz, a President can't be accused of obstruction since he has the power to order any of his underlings to drop any investigation. The only price he would pay would be political."

Yes, I was going to put in a link to Dershowitz but just didn't take the time. Comey is clearly taking the position that Dershowitz is yelling at everyone to wake up and notice. But Comey mostly likes to say other people will do the legal analysis. Maybe there is some subtle exception in there limiting the President's power. Maybe he can outright order the investigation to stop, but if he doesn't stick his neck out where he can take the political response he hasn't used the power he has and he's infringing on some independence that the statutory law was able to give to the FBI. I would certainly want to research the question a lot more before saying there's only one answer here and it's clear and there are no exceptions.

Amadeus 48 (more demonic than TRUMP) said...

Snark--
I claim innocence. I was not on the CNN panel. I only urged fortitude in the face of adversity. I never used either the word "pea" or the word "brain". I don't know your Alana or whether she loves you or whether either you or she boasts a pea brain. I am sorry that you are so disillusioned with your fellow-countrymen, but I never got the hoo-hah about Obama and his junior faculty politics, so there is no accounting for political opinions.

I can safely say I have never lost a political argument. Of course, I have never won one either.

Good fortune to you. I hope everything turns out well with Alana, whether or not she has a pea brain. The only Alana I ever knew was a real bitch.

Rae said...

Trump was basically asking Comey if he was a Democratic plant. Which Comey denied, but subsequently proved himself to be. Democratic holdovers can't be trusted to be loyal to the Office, rather than the office holder. They should all be let go.

MadisonMan said...

When 9 of 9 (or 11 of 11?) people see some version of the same thing that is not supported by either common sense or available evidence (who's more likely to be the liar, really) I think there is a good argument for delusion.

One could also argue that those 9 (or 11) people have a better grasp on their reality than you. Perhaps it is you who suffers from delusions.

The phrase 'not supported by either common sense or available evidence' is the important one. Whose common sense, and what evidence?

hombre said...

That's bullshit about the memos not being government documents. If Comey had been called upon to testify about the meetings, the memos would have been available to refresh his memory just as police reports or notes are used to refresh their memories. Police reports and notes are government documents.

That is the only legitimate purpose fore Comey's memos if he is who he claims to be. Any other purpose would be political or extortionate and the Republicans need to call him on it.

Rene Saunce said...

What I heard yesterday:
Trump never said to Comey "Call off the Russian investigation."

He only hinted that he "hoped" that the Flynn witch hunt would end.


Matthew Sablan said...

I don't know how Comey can think Trump wanted him to end the investigation, when Trump ALSO said that if anyone in his 'satellite' or whatever did something wrong, it would be good to find out.

How does he square these two statements?

robother said...

Snark's argument, that anyone who does not share his opinion of Trump is ipso facto delusional, requires no adducing of evidence or facts demonstrating their delusion. Snark, your parents named ye well.

Drago said...

Snark: "They were in Ohio and there were 9 (or 11?) people - something like that. To a person they thought Trump was the winner on the day, they thought more of him now than they even had before, and that Comey was either a flat out liar or had misunderstood or mischaracterized Trump's words. Delusion in the heartland."

These are the same "delusional" people who believe radical Islamic terrorists is in some ways related to Islam. The lefties and "lifelong republicans" snicker at such "delusion".

Yancey Ward said...

It is hilarious how people seemingly forget Comey's sworn testimony from just 5 weeks ago. If he really believed Trump was trying to obstruct the investigation, he would have answered Hirono's question that day differently- at least he would have if he were really an truth teller. And remember, McCabe, after Comey was fired stated in no uncertain terms that the investigation was not being hindered.

The only thing that changed since May 3rd is that Trump fired Comey, and according to Trump's enemies he did this in order to shut down an investigation that has for inexplicable reasons continued anyway? What has been obstructed exactly?

I think it is more important than ever for the Senate panel to actually get the original memos Comey wrote, or the copies left behind when he was fired, or any computer equipment they were claimed to be written on- my impression from yesterday is that the Senate panel has not done that. I strongly suspect they were written after the firing and not before since that is the best explanation for why Comey used a non-government cutout rather than be the anonymous source himself- he hoped to make it look like they were written months ago. In other words, if I am right in my speculation, asking a colleague at the FBI or DoJ to leak it is riskier because, one, he can't plausibly claim to be leaking a personally owned memo.

One of the surprising things from yesterday was the unprompted revelation about the leak. Here is what I think happened- the Senate or Mueller has subpoenaed the FBI and DoJ for the memos and was told they couldn't be found in official records. One has to believe that Comey was asked about this specifically by Mueller at the very least, and had to come clean about leaking it himself or deny its authenticity. The only other alternative is to claim that he doesn't know why they can't be found in the official records, but continue to hide the fact that he was the leak all along- that is a legally dangerous course to take, however. At this point, I want some sort of proof he wrote them when he said he wrote them.

Theranter said...

"Matthew Sablan said...
I don't know how Comey can think Trump wanted him to end the investigation, when Trump ALSO said that if anyone in his 'satellite' or whatever did something wrong, it would be good to find out."

Which to me, anyhow, also explains why Trump wanted to meet alone with Comey. IOW, if Trump was aware at that time that HE personally was not under investigation, but some around him were, wouldn't he then--by asking others to leave--be honoring Comey's investigation/showing Comey that he will not obstruct any investigation into others, as of course "it would be good to know" whether or not someone around him was not loyal to our country.

John said...

After hearing Comey's Thursday remarks, Jed Shugerman, a law professor at Fordham University, said he could no longer "stand by my earlier criticism that the GOP was asking about Clinton email to distract from the Trump questions."

"They may have intended to change the subject, but they found a real subject to investigate further," he added in an email to Business Insider.

Drago said...

Mathew: "How does he square these two statements?"

He doesn't have to. The key is to maintain a steady stream of innuendo, smears, anonymously sourced negative reports and strategic partial or misleading leaks.

Then, if anyone happens to notice that it all is based on nothing, have the lefties and their "lifelong republican" allies pont at them and call them delusional.

Yancey Ward said...

And to make it clear- I would be satisfied if Comey could show a computer with the time-stamped file, or if the FBI and/or DoJ shows they have such files themselves.

Inga said...

"Several experts said it was highly unlikely Trump would pull the plug on the investigation.

If he did, "that just would be egregious conduct — the kind of thing that would start to trigger public resignations," said Susan Hennessey, a former NSA lawyer.

If any American were knowingly to help Russian intelligence seek to influence a presidential election, he or she might be violating any number of laws, Batvinis and Hennessey said, but a lot would depend on proof of intent.

Laws governing fraud and bribery could be in play, they said, or computer fraud provisions around hacking. Also at issue could be a much lesser violation, that of acting as an agent or a foreign government without registering with the Justice Department. That law is rarely prosecuted.


If the FBI were to examine whether a specific American was involved with any Russian operation, it would be possible for them to run that person’s information through the NSA’s vast trove of intercepted communications, Hennessey said.

"I remember the last president who ordered a stop to an investigation and it cost him his presidency," said Raymond Batvinis, a former FBI counter intelligence agent who teaches national security at George Washington University, speaking of Richard Nixon and Watergate."

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/could-president-trump-shut-down-investigation-if-he-wanted-n710051

Hagar said...

I don't think there was that much in "the tarmac meeting."
Clinton knew Lynch was coming to Phoenix and lay in wait for her. There is no evidence that Lynch knew that; rather the opposite, and she was not pleased.
I think Billy Jeff was there to tell her boss that his wife was not quitting the race for any reason, and for him to stick that in his pipe and smoke it.

Yancey Ward said...

In other words, Inga, Trump couldn't obstruct the investigation even if he wanted to?

Snark said...

"One could also argue that those 9 (or 11) people have a better grasp on their reality than you. Perhaps it is you who suffers from delusions.

The phrase 'not supported by either common sense or available evidence' is the important one. Whose common sense, and what evidence?"


The "common" in common sense suggests both an ordinary sense and one that flows from shared experience. This isn't an abstract question - either Trump is lying or Comey is lying. We all have the same public information to draw on to determine that and the evidence that Trump is a remorseless and prolific liar is abundant. Typical life experience should allow all of us to understand what it might feel like when our boss closes the door and explains that he "hopes" we do something. I'm sure you would acknowledge people are capable of deluding themselves. In this instance, do really think it is just a cosmic roll of the dice to figure out who that might be?

Snark said...

"Good fortune to you. I hope everything turns out well with Alana, whether or not she has a pea brain. The only Alana I ever knew was a real bitch."

Thank you. :) And she must. It's in the chorus!

Dr Weevil said...

They say that if everyone you meet is an asshole, it's a sure sign that you're an asshole. Similarly, if ten or twelve people attentively watch a televised hearing, and all but one of them agree on which side they believe, the other one should probably avoid calling them all pea-brains. It's much more likely that he is a pea-brain, or an . . . I think I'd better stop right there.

Inga said...

"It thus cannot be doubted that a president has constitutional authority to order the FBI to drop a criminal investigation. If a president has a constitutional power, Congress cannot remove it by statute — a law that purported to make the FBI director independent of presidential supervision would be invalid. Well, Congress may not do by indirection what it is forbidden to do directly: It can (and has) enacted obstruction statutes, but they may not be construed to forbid the president to instruct the FBI director to close an investigation. Does that mean the Constitution insulates the president from an obstruction-of -justice charge based on interference with the FBI’s operations?

Absolutely not. Some Trump partisans go too far on this score. It is not only theoretically possible for a president to be guilty of obstructing investigations; President Richard M. Nixon would in fact have been removed from office over it had he not resigned. The first article of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee alleged that Nixon had “prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice,” by (among other things) “interfering or endeavoring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States [and] the Federal Bureau of investigation".

How could a president be said to “obstruct” something he has the constitutional power to shut down entirely? The answer lies in the concept of corruption. To establish the offense of obstructing an FBI investigation, federal law requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused acted “corruptly.” Essentially, this means acting with an understanding that what one is doing is illegal, and with a purpose to subvert the due and proper administration of law.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447801/president-trump-prosecutorial-discretion-obstruction-justice-fbi-director-james-comey-criminal-justice-system

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447801/president-trump-prosecutorial-discretion-obstruction-justice-fbi-director-james-comey-criminal-justice-system

Yancey Ward said...

Snark,

A panel assembled by CNN shows that the testimony yesterday was a win for Trump- definitely gotta be a bunch of deluded wackos.

Snark said...

"They say that if everyone you meet is an asshole, it's a sure sign that you're an asshole. Similarly, if ten or twelve people attentively watch a televised hearing, and all but one of them agree on which side they believe, the other one should probably avoid calling them all pea-brains. It's much more likely that he is a pea-brain, or an . . . I think I'd better stop right there."

Argumentum ad populum would probably impress a lot of heartland be braves. (Note I've extended an olive branch by using the politically correct term)

Dr Weevil said...

What the Hell are "heartland be braves"? That's not even English.
And it would only be argumentum ad populum if they had polled nine or eleven random people on the street, without bothering to ask if any of them had even seen the hearing, instead of having them actually watch the hearing. (You can learn a lot from body language and facial expressions about who's likely to be lying and who's not.) By the way, did you watch the hearing? All the way through? Or is your opinion based partially or entirely on second-hand accounts?

Snark said...

"What the Hell are "heartland be braves"? That's not even English."

Be brave is the politically correct term for pea brain, according to Alana, who is frankly a real bitch. Pay attention!


"And it would only be argumentum ad populum if they had polled nine or eleven random people on the street, without bothering to ask if any of them had even seen the hearing, instead of having them actually watch the hearing. (You can learn a lot from body language and facial expressions about who's likely to be lying and who's not.) By the way, did you watch the hearing? All the way through? Or is your opinion based partially or entirely on second-hand accounts?"

That is the worst definition of arugumentum ad populum I've ever heard. And I listened all the way through on headphones, peeked occasionally, and then watched clips all night on CNN.

Inga said...

A smart President will be wary of abuses of power.

"So is that it, then? Is the president beyond accountability for obstructive conduct? No, which brings us to the second point — and brings us back to Richard Nixon. Because of the significant executive-discretion defenses that would be available, I have serious doubts that a president could be prosecuted in the criminal-justice system for obstructing an FBI investigation. But there is no doubt that a president could be impeached and removed for obstruction offenses.

This is true of shutting down investigations. Impeachable offenses (the Constitution’s term of art is “high crimes and misdemeanors”) need not be penal offenses indictable in a court of law. The issue in an impeachment proceeding is not whether a president (or other government official) is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in the legal sense; it is whether the president has abused his power or otherwise violated his public trust. Impeachment is a political remedy, not a legal one. The defenses that would be available to a president in a criminal prosecution for obstruction would not be nearly as effective in an impeachment. In the latter, the president would not get off the hook by claiming that he had the broad discretion to take this or that questionable action. There would be no dispute about whether the president had discretion; the question would be whether this discretion was abused in a manner so indefensible that the president was not fit to wield such power."

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447801/president-trump-prosecutorial-discretion-obstruction-justice-fbi-director-james-comey-criminal-justice-system

clint said...

"Snark said...
"This isn't an abstract question - either Trump is lying or Comey is lying."

Is that actually true?

Let's look at some specific accusations of lying...

1) Trump says that Comey was doing a lousy job. Comey says that's a lie.
2) Trump says that the FBI was in disarray. Comey says that's a lie.
3) Trump says he never asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation. Comey says he "feels" that Trump's vague expression of hope was a Presidential directive.

The first two are examples of differing opinions. Two people can honestly hold differing opinions. President Trump can believe that the FBI was in disarray (just look at all the leaks!) and Director Comey can believe that the FBI is working just the way it always does (and leaks are just a part of D.C.). We don't have to conclude that either of them is a liar. We can think that one (or both) of them is honestly mistaken.

The third is an example of two people having different feelings about what was implied, not differing on basic facts.

Am I missing a much clearer example of a contradiction between their statements on objective facts known to both of them?

Yancey Ward said...

Sheesh, Inga:

Obstruction is a crime. If Trump ordered Comey to shut it down, that isn't obstruction since he does literally have the power to do so- it can't be illegal. In other words, he can't rightfully be tried in a court of law and sentenced to prison, even after impeachment.

However, there are always political ramifications over when and how a president exercises the power he has, and only Congress can determine when the norms have been overstepped, and the proper remedy is impeachment and removal, neither of which is going to happen after yesterday's testimony. Trump didn't order Comey (because Comey certainly didn't behave like it was order) to stop the investigation, and the investigation hasn't stopped after Comey was fired. This is "obstruction without any actual obstruction".

Comey's problem was always his previous testimony and the very fact that he did nothing that was consistent with his believing otherwise. What the Democrats really needed yesterday, and did not get, was for Comey to come in and admit that he was a willing participant in a scheme to stop the investigation for illicit purposes, but Comey wasn't willing to do that- either because it isn't true (my position) or because he wanted to cover up for himself and his own venal purposes (what is essentially your position by implication).

Comey's testimony yesterday rings to an impartial person as self-serving because he basically never once threatened to resign- this applies to both his actions this year and last year. If he really believed all of this about Lynch and Trump, why not push back with a threat to resign? Why not file the appropriate objections with third parties in the DoJ? Either he was willingly complicit in the things he now claims to be uncomfortable with, or he wasn't really as uncomfortable at the time he claimed he was.

Dr Weevil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rene Saunce said...

Experts! have said. good gravy.

Comey did drop some truth bombs. #1 - Trump is not under investigation.
#2 = The NTY prints nonsense.

Rene Saunce said...

Trump never asked Comey to shut down the Russian investigation.
Comey said so - yesterday.

Dr Weevil said...

Snark:
Maybe if you'd watched from the beginning, paying attention to body language and facial expressions, you would have come to the same conclusion as the panel. Or maybe you came to your conclusions before the hearings started. Political bigotry is a Hell of a drug.

Inga said...

“In general,” he continued, “obstruction of justice is broadly defined as corruptly influencing or impeding a federal proceedings.” What actually counts as a “federal proceeding” remains a matter of controversy, and one that bears heavily on this case.

We don’t yet know if there was a grand jury hearing concerning the Russia investigation. If there was, Trump almost certainly obstructed justice. If, however, there was only a FBI investigation, Garrett and others I spoke with agree it’s not clear that obstruction of justice charges are applicable.

But setting aside that dispute, the plainest legal definition of obstruction of justice is something like this: acting with the specific intent to interfere with a judicial proceeding."

https://www.vox.com/2017/6/8/15742880/donald-trump-james-comey-fbi-russia-investigation

Snark said...

"Am I missing a much clearer example of a contradiction between their statements on objective facts known to both of them?"

Sorry if I wasn't clear, but in my head I am referring to Trump's denials that he expected/asked for loyalty from Comey and that he suggested that Comey "let Flynn go". Comey cleary and explicitly says those things happened. Trump's lawyer said:

"..the President never, in form or substance, directed or suggested that Mr. Comey stop investigating anyone, including suggesting that Mr. Comey "let Flynn go." .... "The President also never told Mr. Comey, "I need loyalty, I expect loyalty" in form or substance."

Trump bolstered these comment this morning by referring to "so many lies and false statements" (or something like that - excuse my potential paraphrase in quotes.

On these two specific and key points, each is effectively calling the other a liar. And I'll reiterate without any intention to offend that I think that, on the evidence, if one thinks it is Comey that is doing the lying one is deluding oneself.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

And, Comey notes, he tried to keep the Attorney General from getting "kicked out of the room." He said to the Attorney General "I report to you. It is very important you be between me and the white house."

Translation: With all the lies I have to put out covering for Hillary, you best be right close covering my back. (Remember, this is the FBI; we got binders full on you, Woman.)

southcentralpa said...

Cobble together a quick café, and we'll help shoulder the load, Professor ...

Fen said...

Althouse, don't apologize for taking your time analyzing. We are in the same place we were back when Walker was elected - our "information brokers" are so deep in the tank for the Left, we may as well be reading fiction. So you are filling a good and delivering much needed objective analysis. Take your time.

Fen said...

Filling a void. not "a good". Stupid smartphone made in China. How the frack do you auto correct void to good?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Inga said...

It thus cannot be doubted that a president has constitutional authority to order the FBI to drop a criminal investigation.

This is in agreement with Comey's understanding of Presidential authority. As the elected head of the executive branch, the President has the authority to direct the operations of that branch. He can direct an investigation to be halted, and employees of the executive branch must follow that direction ( or they can resign in protest. )

Such a direction can of course be obstruction of justice, which is an impeachable offense.

So after Trump's discussion with Comey about the Flynn investigation, did Comey shut down that investigation? Did Comey resign in protest? No and no.

We can therefore conclude, based on Comey's understanding of Presidential authority, and on Comey's actions themselves, that Comey did not believe that Trump directed him to halt the Flynn investigation.

QED

Bobber Fleck said...

Forgive me if this has been asked before, but has anyone ever seen Inga and Snark together in the same room?

Yancey Ward said...

Inga,

Even if there were a federal grand jury, Trump could order the DA to close that up, too, since it is only through the executive's power that the DA can call it in the first place. What you are looking for is meddling that doesn't flow from the executive's power- this would be actions like perjury and suborning perjury, or destroying evidence- those are crimes even if the president commits them, and he can be tried and convicted after being removed from office. Comey's testimony yesterday provided zero evidence of any of that.

Look, Congress can impeach any president they want and for any reason they want, and the Senate can remove such a president for any reason. What I am telling you is that Comey's testimony yesterday made that far less likely than it had been even the day before, and mainly because Comey couldn't/wouldn't provide and concrete reason for Congress to take the risk of doing that- like a full admission of personal guilt as part of a conspiracy.

TreeJoe said...

Nice post Ann. I think it highlights what is truly going on here. After 16 years of an expanding executive, there has been a realization that the executive is now in the hands of someone impolitic by typical standards and ready to wield executive power broadly.

Thus we see a staggering degree of attack against almost all showings of executive power no matter how well grounded they are in the president's constitutional authority.

The President tries to impose a 90-day restriction on travel to the U.S. from certain regions - a very clear presidential power recently performed in a very similar way by President Obama - and multiple regional judges block the order.

The President fires an executive branch member who has clear authority to ask for an investigation to be stopped and to fire the head of the FBI, and it is questioned as to whether or not it's legally authorized.

This is simply the legislative and judicial branches exercising dominance over the executive, backed by a media salivating for scandal and a bureaucratic force dis-satisfied with changes that were specifically voted in.

While in some ways restricting executive power is vital, the way it is being done here is nauseating. The executive branch is the most accountable to voters - it is led by a single individual voted in every 4 years. And it's power is not being directly challenged through actual legislative votes or through Supreme Court decisions (Yet), but through congressional committee, leaking, and judge-picking.

Snark said...

"Forgive me if this has been asked before, but has anyone ever seen Inga and Snark together in the same room?"

Are you suggesting we're the same person? If so, pea brain, that's very troll-y of you.

clint said...

"Snark said...
"On these two specific and key points, each is effectively calling the other a liar. And I'll reiterate without any intention to offend that I think that, on the evidence, if one thinks it is Comey that is doing the lying one is deluding oneself.

6/9/17, 11:31 AM"

Fair enough.

I suppose I'd question how "key" these points are.

Recall that a few months ago, the charge was that Putin hacked the election to get Trump, a Russian stooge, elected illegitimately.

As recently as the start of this week, the key charge was that Trump lied about being the target of a criminal investigation. This was not a trivial point -- it was the key point that could have made Trump's firing of Comey illegitimate, even impeachable.

We've come a long, long way to clearing Trump of everything serious if the "key" issue is now the two different interpretations of a vague statement Comey remembers Trump making that *might* be an inappropriate request that Trump never followed up on in any way even though Comey did the exact opposite of what he "feels" he might have been ordered to do.

That's pretty weak sauce as Presidential scandals go.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Bobber Fleck said...
Forgive me if this has been asked before, but has anyone ever seen Inga and Snark together in the same room?

6/9/17, 11:49 AM

There's more than one fool in the world.

How else do Democrats get elected?

Fen said...

Anyone else annoyed that #2 at FBI is wasting resources and time playing Game of Thrones with national security? Hey bub, maybe you were too busy crafting CYA memos to notice that your fellow Americans are being murdered by the Jihad? I mean WHAT THE FUCK, asshole.

Comey should not be prosecuted, he should be drawn and quartered.

Earnest Prole said...

James Comey, Great White Hope

Fen said...

I find it hysterical that Inga keeps going back to the same sources that keep breaking their promise not to do that thing in her mouth.

She has to be a paid commenter. Even moonbats have more self-respect than that.

Snark said...

"I suppose I'd question how "key" these points are.

Recall that a few months ago, the charge was that Putin hacked the election to get Trump, a Russian stooge, elected illegitimately.

As recently as the start of this week, the key charge was that Trump lied about being the target of a criminal investigation. This was not a trivial point -- it was the key point that could have made Trump's firing of Comey illegitimate, even impeachable.

We've come a long, long way to clearing Trump of everything serious if the "key" issue is now the two different interpretations of a vague statement Comey remembers Trump making that *might* be an inappropriate request that Trump never followed up on in any way even though Comey did the exact opposite of what he "feels" he might have been ordered to do.

That's pretty weak sauce as Presidential scandals go."

This is interesting. I wouldn't describe things this way at all, which is probably a reflection of that fact that we consume different media. I would describe the Russia stuff as ongoing and relatively stable in terms of overarching themes in the last few months: that as part of a pattern of trying to degrade democracy generally and internal western relationships specifially that the Russian government ordered and sponsored cyber campaigns that were intended to benefit Trump over Clinton because they thought he would be better for Russian interests and goals. In doing this, they may have co-opted members of Trump's campaign team who either wittingly or unwittingly colluded in these efforts, and as a separate issue may also have undue leverage with Trump and his family due to financial dealings. I consider these to still be open questions, so I don't see a lot of difference between now and months ago.

I consume an embarrassing amount of news so I was surprised that I didn't even have a frame of reference for your second point, "the key charge was that Trump lied about being the target of a criminal investigation". I would have simply characterized it as not knowing if Trump was part of a criminal investigation or not, with no sense that there was any question of "Trump lying about it".

I would disagree with you on the seriousness of a President seeming to be trying to influence an ongoing investigation that involves people close to him. And with regard to Trump not following up, I thought Comey made an interesting point yesterday when he said that there were no outward signs of the state of the investigation over the following weeks so the President wouldn't have known whether anything had changed with Flynn or not. Perhaps Trump thought no news was good news following his conversation with Comey.

hstad said...

sinz52 said...
Amadeus 48: "He [Comey] is dangerous to our form of government. "

"Trump can go jump in the lake, as far as I'm concerned. He's a disgrace: President Queeg."

6/9/17, 9:01 AM

Your Trump hatred blinds you to the fact the Comey believes that he and the FBI are above the law. A scary proposition given the legal power vested in the FBI. Even Allan Dershowitz is alarmed about Comey's view of the FBI's role in the DOJ and his Clinton announcements. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KbHrf07r4Q

Drago said...

Inga: "A smart President will be wary of abuses of power."

Inga awakes from an 8 year slumber.

roesch/voltaire said...

AA what try out did Trump give Comey? Was he suppose in investigate the Russian interference in our election, he was doing that so what did he fail at? Oh he was not supposed to investigate Flynn, yes he failed at that! it seems we are pinning a lot on the word hope, some hope that Comey would lay more than a glove on Trump, and Trump ,who has been involved in more law suits than you shake a lawyer at, was hoping Comey could translate his wishes into action so that they both could share "that" common understanding.

Birkel said...

@ Snark
" I would describe the Russia stuff as ongoing and relatively stable..."

We reach agreement! I too believe it was bull shit from start to finish and will be relatively stable bull shit for the foreseeable future.

Johnathan Birks said...

Whatever Henry II said, he said it in French. He was born in France, died in France. There's no proof I know of that he ever learned English, which at the time bore more semblance to French than to modern English.

rehajm said...

Did Midwesterners not understand Comey's seagull metaphor? Like seagulls with an open box of Wheat Thins is one of my favourites and explains a great many chaotic situations.

Birkel said...

@ roesch/voltaire

I believe he was supposed to investigate and prosecute illegal leaking of classified information to the press. Trump appears to have judged Comey was either incapable or unwilling to pursue that perfectly acceptable and legal strategy.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Yes, I was going to put in a link to Dershowitz but just didn't take the time. Comey is clearly taking the position that Dershowitz is yelling at everyone to wake up and notice. But Comey mostly likes to say other people will do the legal analysis. Maybe there is some subtle exception in there limiting the President's power. Maybe he can outright order the investigation to stop, but if he doesn't stick his neck out where he can take the political response he hasn't used the power he has and he's infringing on some independence that the statutory law was able to give to the FBI. I would certainly want to research the question a lot more before saying there's only one answer here and it's clear and there are no exceptions"

I frankly don't think that Congress could bind a President's hands in terms of his prosecutorial and investigatorial discretion. That discretion flows from and is delegated by the President, to his AG, through him to his USAs, and through them to the AUSAs. And through the AG to the FBI director to his agents. It is implicit in the President's Article II Clause 1 Constitutional duty and power to head the Executive Branch ("The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America."). If Congress were to try to limit the President in this area, they would essentially be facing the problem of limiting his power to wield this discretion directly, but not indirectly through delegation to his subordinates. But, since they can have no more power or discretion than the President (since it is his discretion that they are exercising), how can such a statute not circumscribe their discretion too? And, which, I would suggest bring such an exercise of Congressional will under Jackson's third prong in Youngstown Steel. And absent strict statutory authority, any attempt to limit Presidential discretion (such as through custom) would likely fall under at least the deferential second prong.

rehajm said...

Anyone else annoyed that #2 at FBI is wasting resources and time playing Game of Thrones with national security?...Comey should not be prosecuted, he should be drawn and quartered.

To continue the GOT theme he should have been flayed.

grackle said...

I do think that Trump fired Comey because the "Russia" investigation dragged on but Comey would not clear Trump publicly.

Respectfully I would suggest that there were several reasons to fire Comey, not just one. Starting perhaps with Comey calling his boss “crazy” and having it splashed on the front pages and featured on the cables.

I wonder what would happen if, for example, Chuck publicly called the head of his law firm crazy. Do we think Chuck would keep his job?

Snark said...

"Maybe if you'd watched from the beginning, paying attention to body language and facial expressions, you would have come to the same conclusion as the panel. Or maybe you came to your conclusions before the hearings started. Political bigotry is a Hell of a drug."

I see this as an inadvertent argument that we should give Comey's impression that he was being directed by Trump a fair degree of weight. He was the only person to be in a position to judge these things which you've deemed pretty important to the understanding of a situation.

Birkel said...

@ Snark

You mean the only person except for the other person in the room, right? So by only you mean not at all the only?

Words, man! Why can't they mean what I want them to mean, nothing more and nothing less?

Browndog said...

I love it when we get bogged down in "what is legal?".

It's simple. What is legal, and what is not, is whatever liberals say it is.

From the Appeals Courts striking down Trump's Executive Orders on Immigration, to the John Doe witch hunt in Wisconsin, this "Nation of Laws" marches in one direction.

Now, go bake a cake for a gay, and pray they don't further alter the deal.

grackle said...

Look, Congress can impeach any president they want and for any reason they want, and the Senate can remove such a president for any reason.

Yes, I believe they can. But WILL they. I almost wish they would, if only to watch the backlash. But I think their strategy is probably not to impeach but to use the MSM and their eGOP buddies in Congress to render him ineffective.

Any successful impeachment would require the open collusion of the Congressional eGOP and I don’t think the eGOP dimwits are THAT stupid … yet.

Rene Saunce said...

Trump should be impeached because he's clumsy and he beat Hillary.

Criminal.

jr565 said...

One way you can tell it wasn't a directive is that they had three more noted conversations and trump never asked about Flynn again. and nor did he press Comey or anyone else about it after the fact. As Comey himself said, he viewed the Flynn case separate from the Russia case and he next time trump talks to him he is instead addressing the cloud over him because of the Russian probe. When Comey says the best way to remove the cloud is to complete the investigation trump AGREES. So this was simply trump BITCHING to Comey about the case itself.
The nine of contention that ultimately caused trump to fire him, I believe is that he wanted Comey to let public k or he wasn't uunder investigation. Which is not exactly obstruction. Rather it's asking for information be put out that shows you are innocent. From trumps perspective it's not unreasonable to want that. Further Comey admitted he blew trump off. He said he'd look into it but he admitted that he just told trump that to get him off his back. When trump follows up again, Comey very dismissively says to take it up with the AG. Which I viewed as him essentially telling trump to go talk to management and don't bother him about it. Which I'm sure trump took very personally.
Comey was actually very passive aggressive through all of this

Fen said...

"I regard the Russia stuff as mumble mumble something mumble impeachment"

Russia Hacked Election, the Cliff Notes version.

And hey, if you consume tons of media every day but are missing critical bits of information, it's likely you are reading the same newspaper 5 times a day.

Snark said...

"You mean the only person except for the other person in the room, right? So by only you mean not at all the only?

Words, man! Why can't they mean what I want them to mean, nothing more and nothing less?"

The OP's point was specifically about "body language and facial expressions". You'll pardon me not giving a great deal of weight to Trump somehow observing his own body language and facial expressions. That kind of contortion would need Althouse. Ha ha!

grackle said...

I think Billy Jeff was there to tell her boss that his wife was not quitting the race for any reason, and for him to stick that in his pipe and smoke it.

That could’ve been accomplished with a phone call. But as we have learned ALL phone calls are subject to being intercepted. So they had to meet in person. My guess is that something physical had to change hands. The debate questions?

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me maybe clarify as to Youngstown. Prong 3 starts with "When the President takes measures incompatible with the expressed or implied will of Congress, his power is at its lowest ebb, for then he can rely only upon his own constitutional powers minus any constitutional powers of Congress over the matter.". Why would Congress have the power to limit the President's investigatoty and prosecutorial discretion? What Article I Constitutional power grant could or would they provide? Making this even more questionable from a statutory point of view, it is pretty clear that the Russian investigation of Flynn was counter-intelligence, and not criminal in nature. This implicates his Article II section 1, Clause 8 (oath to protect the Constitution) and Section 2 Clause 1 (Commander in Chief) powers, in addition to his Article II, Section 1, Clause 1 (first sentence) Executive power. I would argue that the above Article II Presidential powers create a strong presumption that any statutory limitations to the required discretion by the President would constitute Congressional overreach.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Birkel said...

I believe he was supposed to investigate and prosecute illegal leaking of classified information to the press. Trump appears to have judged Comey was either incapable or unwilling to pursue that perfectly acceptable and legal strategy.

Maybe Comey didn't own a mirror...

MadisonMan said...

Did Midwesterners not understand Comey's seagull metaphor

I've been told many times by coastie friends that there is no such thing as a seagull. They are simply gulls.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

roesch/voltaire said...

AA what try out did Trump give Comey?

He repeatedly tried to get Comey to go public with the truthful statement that Trump was not under investigation. The would have in no way interfered with or obstructed any investigation or prosecution. There was no legal reason for Comey not to make that statement.

Trump tried him out. Comey failed.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

MadisonMan said...

I've been told many times by coastie friends that there is no such thing as a seagull. They are simply gulls.

I guess your coastie friends are provincial. In New Jersey they were seagulls.

rhhardin said...

Epstein and Yoo (mp3), who are borderline never-Trumpers, say it's Comey who's guilty of obstruction of justice, looking at the law.

Fen said...

Lefties, the Comey Fizzle is like a bad joke - if you have to explain it, you've already lost the room.

Only reason I'm still in the joint is to see what loony conspiracy theory you'll run after next.

Did you know that Trump is just a front? He's an android. Ivanka is the acting president, along with The Council sending back directives from
3045.

Snark said...

"And hey, if you consume tons of media every day but are missing critical bits of information, it's likely you are reading the same newspaper 5 times a day."

You've missed the point. I have no reason to believe I've missed a critical point of information, so I just find it interesting that what I'm consuming and the collective you are consuming focus on sometimes very different things. A "key charge was that Trump lied about being the target of a criminal investigation" might have been a critical point on your preferred news sources, but it doesn't even ring a bell with me, let alone rise to the level of a "key charge". I'm wondering if the commenter meant the suggestion that Trump was lying about Comey telling him he wasn't under investigation as noted in the firing letter? Because that's not the same thing. That I am of course aware of. On my news sources you had a couple talking heads saying that they didn't think Comey would have told him one way or another, and they were wrong, but they're just talking heads filling hours speculating and any astute watcher knows that. Eventually there was a late erroneous anonymous leak that said that Comey would contradict Trump on the point, which was also wrong in essence, but it didn't even stand for long enough to become a "key charge". I guess had you asked me, based on the reporting on CNN I would have anticipated that Comey would contradict Trump, and I would have been wrong along with them, but it wasn't "key" to anything as I understood it.

Bad Lieutenant said...

Fen said...
I find it hysterical that Inga keeps going back to the same sources that keep breaking their promise not to do that thing in her mouth.

Maybe she likes the taste. Or it's good for her complexion.

Snark said...

You know, there's a lot of mocking here about feminist themes when they come up for discussion. But Inga is often attacked in a very gendered way. Unless she herself introduced it, a little more self awareness, and in this case a lot less crudeness, would go a long way.

Pianoman said...

So Comey decided that he was reading Trump's mind?

Trump didn't *explicitly* tell Comey to stop investigating, but Comey *thought* that's what Trump meant?

All this consternation over THAT?

gawdamighty ...

Bad Lieutenant said...

Snark,

A fig for your opinion.

I'll say this for Inga, she doesn't need your help. Also I'm sure she's the jolly type who believe that spitting is quitting.

Did I miss your revolting against Colbert's "cockholster" remark? Signs point to no.

TL,DR: Delete your account.

Snark said...
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Snark said...

"I'll say this for Inga, she doesn't need your help."

Perhaps not, but don't be so sure. People get weary and wander off.

"Did I miss your revolting against Colbert's "cockholster" remark? Signs point to no."

Colbert's remark was crude and stupid, but its biggest sin was in not even being funny. I thought the fact that he made it was an example of liberals losing perspective.

TL,DR; You assume a lot.

tim maguire said...

Seems a bit like the candy Crowley situation to me--it's not an apt quote (in fact, it's the exact opposite since Trump was trying to save Flynn), but one came up with it while the other obviously had it prepared.

That's called coordination.

Birkel said...

@ Snark

So you would prefer to trust the word of the man who is observing behavior, with all the attendant problems involved in interpersonal communication, over the person who said words (assuming arguendo that those things are accurately reflected) that have specific meanings? It's almost like you only care about who, whom.

But still your above statement cannot be resurrected. There were two men in that conversation, not one. You were wrong and it diminishes your point by making your partisanship obvious.

Grab your carry on.

Snark said...
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Snark said...

^ Maybe leave the analysis to people capable of and interested in understanding the point as made and not the one you want to make

Birkel said...

@ Snark

It's fine with me if you want to say, directly, that you prefer to believe the recollections of one party to a conversation over the other. But you said that "(h)e was the only person to be in a position to judge these things..." and that was false.

Think of it this way: I'm trying to help you avoid saying things that are demonstrably false. There were two people in the room.

You cannot make words mean whatever you wish them to mean.

Drago said...

Birkel: "You cannot make words mean whatever you wish them to mean."

Not unless you wish really really hard!