Trump vs. Comey

 Posted by at 1:38 am  Politics
Jun 112017
 

The lonliest man in the world in a room full of people.

I don't know what people were waiting for most, James Comey's testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, or Trump's reaction to it.  Of course, to get the second, you must have the first.  They are part and parcel.

While James Comey was giving testimony under oath to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Thursday 08 June 2017, Trump was speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, DC.  According to the Washington Post

"… just as Comey was wrapping up his public hearing, Trump recited Isaiah 1:17, which states: “Learn to do right, seek justice, defend the oppressed. Take up the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”

Then the president added in his own words: “The entrenched interests and failed bitter voices in Washington will do everything in their power to try and stop us from this righteous cause, to try to stop all of you. They will lie, they will obstruct, they will spread their hatred and their prejudice, but we will not back down from doing what is right.”

“Because as the Bible tells us, we know the truth will prevail,” he added. “Nothing worth doing ever came easy. . . . We know how to fight better than anybody, and we never give up. We are winners, and we are going to fight.”

I am sorry, but when did Drumpf or a pseudo Christian ever heed the true meaning of scripture?  Righteous cause?  Drumpf was playing the audience like a maestro plays the violin, and they bought itlock, stock and barrel.

From The NY Times, these highlights from The Senate hearing:

‘Lies, plain and simple’

Mr. Comey said Mr. Trump lied to the American public when he said that the F.B.I. was in disarray and that agents had lost confidence in Mr. Comey.

“Those were lies, plain and simple,” Mr. Comey said in brief opening remarks.

Mr. Trump made that claim when he fired Mr. Comey last month. Mr. Comey said he was confused and concerned by Mr. Trump’s changing explanation for why he fired him.

‘We know how to fight,’ Trump says

Mr. Trump, appearing at a meeting of faith leaders and politicians in Washington as Mr. Comey testified across town, railed against the media and his political opponents.

“We know how to fight better than anybody and we never, ever give up — we are winners and we are going to fight,” he told hundreds of supporters at the annual Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Mr. Trump recited Isaiah 1:17, then continued by saying that “entrenched interests” in Washington “will lie, they will obstruct, they will spread their hatred and their prejudice, but we will not back down from doing what is right.”

“We know the truth will prevail,” he added. “Nothing worth doing ever came easy.”

A short time later, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, issued a statement denying Mr. Comey’s testimony that the president pressured him to drop his investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia. He also said Mr. Trump never demanded “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty” as Mr. Comey testified on Thursday.

“Contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing, Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told the president privately: The president was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference,” Mr. Kasowitz’s statement said. “He also admitted that there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference.

Mr. Trump watched part of the hearings with the lawyer, and Mr. Kasowitz’s statements tracked closely with emails and talking points issued by the Republican National Committee, who think the former director hurt himself by acknowledging he leaked a memo detailing his private interactions with the president.

Click through for more highlights.  You can also read a transcript of the hearing at  NY TimesIt is decidedly faster than listening to the three plus hours of testimony, although the nuance of tone and body language is lost. 

Rachel Maddow provides some analysis of the day's proceedings.

So, who were the winners and losers after Comey's testimony?

The Hill I have provided the first "winner" and the first "loser".  Click through for the remaining winners and losers.  So Trump, who has the big L on the forehead now?  You do!

WINNERS
 
Former FBI Director James Comey
 
Comey rode into the Thursday hearing on a wave of positive press. He figures to go back to civilian life on the same high.
 
Comey’s seven-page opening statement was praised for its prose and will be remembered for its portrayal of excruciating personal interactions involving a president at war with his FBI director.
 

Comey’s reputation for being “politically savvy” will grow after he revealed that he engineered the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia by sharing his notes about conversations with Trump through an intermediary to The New York Times — for the express purpose of getting the counsel picked.
 
There will definitely be some blowback for Comey, who had criticized leaks while serving as FBI director. His admission of sharing the notes underlines his image as a Washington player — and perhaps not in a completely complimentary way.
 
Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz ripped Comey at a presser after the hearing, criticizing the leak as improper and insisting that Trump never asked for his loyalty.
 
Yet the bipartisan praise he won from senators on the Intelligence panel will make it more difficult for critics to tar him.
 
And Comey’s reputation as someone who looked out for an independent FBI is unlikely to be shaken.
 
LOSERS
 
President Trump
 
There was much to be relieved about after Thursday’s hearing if you were Trump or his staff.
 
The legal case against Trump didn’t grow from Comey’s testimony, which included no new bombshells.
 
There is still no evidence that Trump campaign officials colluded with Russia, and Comey would not say that the president sought to obstruct justice by asking him to “lift the cloud” over his administration and the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
 
Comey also said Trump was not under investigation while he was at the FBI, validating public remarks by the president.
 
Still, it’s never a good day when an FBI director accuses you of being a liar and defaming the federal law enforcement power.
 
Overall, it was another bad day in politics for Trump, who has had many of those in recent weeks.
 
The Comey drama and the Russian probe are badly hampering Trump’s ability to govern. The president’s job approval rating hit a new low this week and his agenda has stalled in Congress. 
 
Comey’s testimony will only thicken the “cloud” of controversy that Trump, according to the former FBI director, really wanted to see lifted.
 
Trump's reaction to Comey's testimony the following day as reported by Reuters:

President Donald Trump called James Comey a "leaker" on Friday, the day after his former FBI director accused him in a U.S. Senate hearing of lying and trying to quash an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. 

"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication … and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" Trump tweeted in his first comments since Comey appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

If I had to sum up the activities in Washington in ten words or less, I think I'd use a headline from CNN:
James Comey just went nuclear on Donald Trump.
 
I am sure that when TomCat is up to it, he will provide more analysis of Comey's testimony and where he sees this circus going.
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May 232017
 

I have not posted in a while as I deal with my mother's passing and preparing her estate.  There is still much to do and it will get done eventually.  This week is very busy with numerous meetings all crammed into 4 days because yesterday was Victoria Day, a statutory holiday in most of Canada (Québec calls it Patriot's Day).  Today's big adventure is taking my 3 furbabes to the vet's for their annual checkup and shots.  They love their vet (he's their godfather) and he loves them.  By the time I get them home, the car and me will be covered in cat fur, literally!

Short Takes

CBC — A jawbone discovered by German troops in Athens during the Second World War could be evidence that apes and humans diverged 200,000 years earlier than the current theory says.

Chimpanzees and bonobos are the nearest known relatives to humans, sharing 99 per cent of our DNA. It's believed that we split between five and seven million years ago. 

However, researchers analyzing two fossils — a jawbone from a German museum and an upper premolar from a collection in Bulgaria — concluded their ages to be roughly 7.2 million years, and belonging to a pre-human.

But there's another significant finding: that human split occurred in the eastern Mediterranean and not Africa, as it is believed.

Well doesn't this just bite if you're an evangelical creationist who believes the earth was created only 6,000 years ago and that God created humans, and humans did not evolve from apes!  While the 7.2-million-year-old pre-human fossils might challenge current evolutionary theory, it certainly slams creationists.  Let's hear it for science!

Business Insider UK — For most in the hospitality industry, the odd bad review is part and parcel of the trade, but one venue appears to be determined to silence its critics.

According to The Mirror, Sarah Gardner, a 44-year-old mother and part-time nurse, has been threatened with legal action after posting a negative review on TripAdvisor of the Tunbridge Wells-based High Rocks restaurant and wedding reception venue.

The review posted on March 22 has since been taken down, but according to a screenshot obtained by the Daily Mail, it said: “Visited here with my family, been coming here for years. I have found the staff more and more rude each time."

“They have an arrogance that should not exist in a service industry, particularly the management. It’s as if they are doing you a favour, I found dealing with them frustrating and perplexing."

Click through for the rest.  Don't let Drumpf see this or he'll try to sue everyone and anyone who speaks negatively about him whether it comes under freedom or speech or not!

Washington Post — President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials.

Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election.

Coats and Rogers refused to comply with the requests, which they both deemed to be inappropriate, according to two current and two former officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private communications with the president.

Trump sought the assistance of Coats and Rogers after FBI Director James B. Comey told the House Intelligence Committee on March 20 that the FBI was investigating “the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

How many ways are there to say "obstruction of justice"?  Drumpf keeps digging a bigger and bigger hole with no end in sight until he is actually impeached or he resigns.  I agree with those that say Drumpf thinks he is untouchable.  If he resigns the presidency as Richard Nixon did back in 1974 before he could be impeached, I understand that he could still face criminal charges.  I guess things are going to get worse before they get better.

YouTube —  Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 5/21/17 : Stupid Watergate

John always has something to say and he does it with humour.  With the state of US politics right now, if we don't laugh on occasion, we might cry excessively!

US News and World Report — Like most things in politics, impeachment is not as simple as one might think.

The U.S. Constitution lays out impeachment powers for Congress, allowing the governing body to put certain government officials on trial and remove them from power. When an official is impeached, he or she isn't necessarily removed from office – that's a separate step in the procedure.

The process takes on the form of a trial, but the trial takes place in the House of Representatives and the Senate, not the courts.

The result is a blend of law and partisan politics in an often months-long process.

1. Who can be impeached?

According to the Constitution, at the federal level "the president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States" can be removed from office. There have been 19 formal impeachment proceedings at the federal level in the U.S., which ended in seven acquittals, eight convictions, three dismissals and one resignation.

State legislatures can impeach state officials, including governors.

This is a very simple look at the impeachment process.  It is not as simple as "kick the bumb out!" no matter how we wish it to be.  Some of us remember the Richard Nixon resignation in 1974 when he thought he would be impeached.

YouTube — John Oliver – James Comey              

Need I comment further?  The Drumpf administration is the worst administration I can think of.  Nixon was bad, but Drumpf has him beat.

YouTube — The Young Turks — BREAKING: Eric Trump Is Staggeringly Stupid              

I have always felt that Eric Trump was on the clueless side.  From confirming his like of nepotism to his comments on Russian money in the family real estate business, he might actually be a prosecutor's best friend.  And Drumpf wanted a security clearance for this rube?

My Universe — In the video, which was posted to Youtube by Vancouver’s Michael Fujiwara, the sea lion surfaces near the dock, and swims about looking harmless. No doubt it was drawn by the fish — this is an area, after all, that was once nicknamed Salmonopolis.

But after surveying the area and discovering no fish, the sea lion surprises everyone by approaching a young girl, then suddenly, biting down on her dress and dragging her backwards into the water. …

“The sea lion actually attracted a lot of attention from the visitors there, including the young girl,” he said. “She and her family, I guess, they came, they started feeding the animal bread crumbs or whatever it was, and then I guess the animal got a little too comfortable.”

Fortunately, the young girl was pulled from the water immediately by a family member. The young girl was unharmed, albeit a little soggy, and with a newfound, healthy fear of sea lions.

This happened at the Steveston Wharf which is where many fish boats are docked, so it would be quite normal for seals and sea lions to be around the wharf area.  People need to respect wild creatures for the potential harm they can inflict.  Seals and their bigger cousins, sea lions, can be dangerous.  Nobody should be feeding any wild animal.  Here is an additional CBC article about the incident with a little more detail.  Fortunately, this story has a happy ending.

 

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More Obstruction of Justice

 Posted by at 2:16 pm  Politics
May 172017
 

I had no doubt that Putin’s Puppet, Fuhrer Donald Trump, was obstructing justice, when he fired Sally Yates to stop her investigation into his treason.  It became even more clear when he fired James Comey for the same reason.  When admitted that it was because of "the Russia thing", he removed all doubt.  Nut now, it is so obvious that even some Republicans are taking notice.

TrumpPuppet

President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting.

“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.

The documentation of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. Late Tuesday, Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the F.B.I. turn over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey.

Such documents, Mr. Chaffetz wrote, would “raise questions as to whether the president attempted to influence or impede” the F.B.I.\

Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. It was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation. An F.B.I. agent’s contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

Mr. Comey shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates. The New York Times has not viewed a copy of the memo, which is unclassified, but one of Mr. Comey’s associates read parts of it to a Times reporter… [emphasis added]

From <NY Times>

Here is Rachel Maddow interviewing Mike Schmidt the reporter who broke the story in the above article.

If Republicans don’t take action, and I still seriously doubt that they will, their failure to do so, given the existence of clear documentation, may just be the final gasp of the Republican Party.  If they Dump Trump now, it will put the kibosh on the Republican tax agenda.  They are way too greedy to risk that.

RESIST!!

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May 122017
 

Until yesterday, Putin’s Pet and his Republican Reich kept claiming that DOJ had fired FBI Director Comey because of the way he treated Hillary.  Nobody believed them, but universal incredulity has never been an obstacle to their lies before.  Yesterday both Trump and his staff changed gears, that Trump had decided to fire Comey, because the Russia investigation,according to them, is based on fake news.  The tone was that of bragging.

0512TrumpPet

Donald Trump has said he was thinking of “this Russia thing” when he decided James Comey’s fate – contradicting the White House rationale that he fired the FBI director for mishandling the Clinton email investigation.

Comey had been leading an investigation into possible collusion between Trump advisers and Russian officials when he was dismissed by the president. Defending that decision in an interview on NBC News on Thursday, Trump said: “And, in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said: ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.’”…

…In the NBC interview Trump also flatly contradicted his own vice-president and spokesman by saying he decided to fire James Comey before receiving a recommendation from the deputy attorney general…

From <Alternet>

Photo Credit: Esquire

Rachel Maddow covered this story in detail and tied it in will the behavior of Jefferson "KKK Beauregard" Sessions.

So, as I understand it, Trump and Comey had dinner, during which Trump repeatedly asked Comey to swear loyalty, not to America, but to him, a practice made famous by Adolf Hitler.  Comey refused and offered to swear honesty and integrity.  Were Trump and his minions not in danger of having their treason exposed by Comey’s investigation, a promise of honesty and integrity would have been sufficient.  Trump needed loyalty, because he wanted Comey to cooperate in the cover-up.  Shortly thereafter, Trump pulled the plug on the FBI investigation by firing Comey.  So who is running it now?

KKK Beauregard Sessions had recused himself from all matters Russia, but evidently, he is now running the investigation in secret, sol he can squelch it.  And now that there’s little anyone can do, Trump is openly bragging about it.

RESIST!!

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The Tuesday Massacre

 Posted by at 2:45 pm  Politics
May 102017
 

I trust you have all heard of the Saturday Night Massacre that took place on October 20, 1973, when Republican criminal. Richard Nixon fired Attorney General Elliot Richardson, and then fired Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus, because they refused to fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.  Nixon then ordered the infamous Robert Bork, Solicitor General, to fire Cox, and he did to squelch the investigation into a third rate burglary.   On Friday, Donald Trump ordered the firing of FBI director, James Comey, to squelch the investigation into election theft and treason.  Most Republicans seem to support this crime.

94162176

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, on Wednesday defended President Trump’s firing of the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, resisting Democratic calls to challenge the president and support a broader inquiry of Russian interference in the election.

“Today we’ll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation,” Mr. McConnell said on the Senate floor, “which can only serve to impede the current work being done.”

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, frontally questioned Mr. Trump’s stated rationale for dismissing Mr. Comey and renewed a call for the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor.

Since the day Mr. Trump was elected, a prevailing theory was that congressional Republicans, especially in the Senate, would be a check and balance on his potential excesses and missteps.

Mr. McConnell has largely avoided that test…

From <NY Times>

Now I'll be the first to admit that Comey was very high on my shit list for the way he publicized the unfounded Clinton scandal and kept quiet about the dire threat that Trump's Russia contacts represent, and his treatment of Hillary is the so-called reason Comey was fired.  Bullshit!  Trump loved Comey until it became apparent that the FBI is actively investigating Trump.

I'll start video coverage with Rachel Maddow, because she sets it up so well.

Lawrence O'Donnell discussed the need for Republicans to put country before party.

I'm not the only one to be calling Bullshit.  Chris Hayes interviewed Elizabeth Warren.

Very few Republicans are even making noise about this.  I fear that the only way we can get a proper investigation is to take back the House and Senate in 2018.

Correction:  I changed the Title to the correct day.  My Bad.

RESIST!!

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Mar 222017
 

Another day, another nickel!  I am still feeling a little lost time wise since my mother passed.  I know things will right themselves before too long, if no other reason than I have taxes to do for the end of April, and of course I still have my mother's estate to prepare.  I am running into a few bumps in the road estate wise, but nothing I can't handle.  The rest of the week is busy but I hope to be back with another OT.

Short Takes

YouTube — Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – World War Trump (HBO) March 15, 2017              

The Atlantic — As it turns out, this was only a warm-up for the dual press conference the two leaders held later Friday afternoon, during which Merkel stood beside Trump as he ridiculed a German reporter, lied about his statements on his baseless conspiracy theory that President Obama surveilled him, and refused to back down on claims that have set off a diplomatic incident with the United Kingdom.

The fact that it might be a tense conversation was clear from the two leaders’ opening statements. Trump, during his, once again complained about the cost of NATO. “I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost defense,” he said. “Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States. These nations must pay what they owe.”

As for Merkel, she used her own statement to issue a veiled scolding for Trump, who previously said she was “ruining” Germany with a “catastrophic mistake” of an open-door refugee policy. “I've always said it's much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another, and I think our conversation proved this,” Merkel said.  …

During the press conference, the American journalist Mark Halperin asked Merkel a question about whether she thought Trump’s “different style” than past president was good for the world. The chancellor gamely tried to answer.

“For Germany I can say, well people are different, people have different abilities, different traits of character, have different origins, have found their way into politics along different pathways,” she said through a translator. “Which, well, that is diversity, which is good! Sometimes it’s difficult to find compromises, but that’s what we’ve been elected for.”

The fact that Merkel had to work hard to say something diplomatic in response to such a softball question said a great deal about the press conference. But give the chancellor credit for effort—Trump didn’t even bother to try diplomacy.

Drumpf knows nothing of diplomacy.  He is like the proverbial "bull in a china shop" and it is quite obvious that he doesn't care.  The National Post ran an article in which it recorded the following,

President Donald Trump said Saturday that Germany owes "vast sums of money" to NATO and the U.S. "must be paid more" for providing defence, reiterating his stance that European allies need to end their part of the bargain if they are to continue benefiting from the military alliance."

It is quite clear that Drumpf does not know or understand the funding formula that was agreed upon in previous years.  The NATO agreement was signed on 4 April 1949 and constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.  I probably know more about NATO than Drumpf does, and that can't be good.  In the picture, this handshake is the most awkward looking handshake.  Drumpf looks like a downright nasty beast.

msn.com (USA Today) — The Pleasant Run Elementary students had just won a robotics challenge at Plainfield High School, and the students — new to bot competition this year — were one step closer to the Vex IQ State Championship.

The team is made up of 9- and 10-year-olds. Two are African American and three are Latino.

As the group, called the Pleasant Run PantherBots, and their parents left the challenge last month in Plainfield, Ind., competing students from other Indianapolis-area schools and their parents were waiting for them in the parking lot.

“Go back to Mexico!” two or three kids screamed at their brown-skin peers and their parents, according to some who were there.

More despicable behaviour as a result of Drumpf's targeting of minorities.  What well adjusted young people that are putting the hate behind them and enjoying the learning experience and the competition.

Washington Post — On the 60th day of his presidency came the hardest truth for Donald Trump.

He was wrong.

James B. Comey — the FBI director whom Trump celebrated on the campaign trail as a gutsy and honorable “Crooked Hillary” truth-teller — testified under oath Monday what many Americans had already assumed: Trump had falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping his headquarters during last year’s campaign.

Trump did not merely allege that former president Barack Obama ordered surveillance on Trump Tower, of course. He asserted it as fact, and then reasserted it, and then insisted that forthcoming evidence would prove him right.

But in Monday’s remarkable, marathon hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Comey said there was no such evidence. Trump’s claim, first made in a series of tweets on March 4 at a moment when associates said he was feeling under siege and stewing over the struggles of his young presidency, remains unfounded.  

Comey did not stop there. He confirmed publicly that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and associates with Russia, part of an extraordinary effort by an adversary to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election in Trump’s favor.

I'll bet that "He was wrong." was hard to swallow for narcissistic Drumpf!  . . . or did he really hear and understand it?  Will he demand Comey's resignation?  Who knows.  My bet says he will bring it up again.  . . . and again . . . and again.  He doesn't know when to quit!  After all the Monday drama, in dire need of some adulation to feed his narcissistic soul, Drumpf headed out to Missouri for yet another rally that is nothing more than a love fest so his supporters thinking he is looking after them.  Or should I say to fleece his flock?! 

YouTube — The Most Telling Thing About the FBI’s Probe into Trump | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ  

Keith hits it out of the park, doesn't he!

YouTube — The Only True Surprise? Trump’s an Idiot | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ              

Another fine piece by Keith.  "These people are idiots!"  Truer words have not been spoken!

 

Resist and Persist!!!

 

My Universe — This gives new meaning to going postal!

 

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