Sunday, April 22, 2018

Ranting About Russiagate

A relatively light load, after a heavy flow week. Ann Althouse was on fire with Russiagate posts yesterday (she reads the New York Times so we don't have to): I remember when it became clear that Hillary Clinton was going to win the 2016 election. 
I'm reading "It’s becoming clear that Trump won’t run in 2020" by Joe Scarborough. I mean, I'm reading the headline and laughing. It's on the most-read list at The Washington Post. It's what people want to read, and isn't that what fake news is all about, giving the people what they want (and getting them to want what you want them to want)?
Pundits have confidently predicted 1,000,000 of the last 10 tragedies, so there's that. "Michael Cohen... famously said I'll take a bullet for Donald Trump. Well, now that he's looking at prison time, we'll see if he'll take a dick."
That's Bill Maher's homophobic rape joke, which I transcribed from the recording of last night's episode of "Real Time."

Here, you can watch it.
She doesn't like prison rape jokes, but when their subject is Comey or McCabe, I think they're just fine. Those who send people to jail for a living should take special care not to end up in that position.  Then "The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with..."
"... are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will 'flip.' They use.... ....non-existent 'sources' and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if.... means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!"
3 tweets by Trump this morning — here, here, and here.

Who is "the drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael"?
Isn't being mean to a reporter an impeachable offense or something? Finally, "Remember that kid in school—every school has at least one—who everyone tolerated but never really liked, who was more concerned with adhering to and obeying the rules than understanding the reasons for them..."
"... and who self-righteously prided themselves on reporting everything to the nearest teacher they could every time? The kids who always seemed to end up 'in charge' of small-authority things like the A/V equipment, hall monitors, or street crossings, who immediately lorded their 'authority' when doing their 'jobs,' who invariably ended up wearing their 'uniforms' (vests or badges or whatever) literally everywhere they went, and who started virtually every sentence with, 'Well, as a hall monitor, I think...' If they never grow out of that attitude, they grow up to be James Comey."
About right. As usual with Althouse posts, most of the fun is in the comments.

Comey Seems Blind to the Truth About Lying  "The former FBI director wants to hold “people” accountable. Somehow that does not include the police." I Was a Top Clinton Aide. Here’s What I Think About Comey’s Book.
. . . what Comey’s actions and book reveal is a tendency toward a corrupting belief that his “higher loyalty”—which lifted him above partisan politics—somehow bestowed upon him the right to take actions that were well beyond his role as FBI director. It’s a very dangerous attitude, and one that resulted in him taking unprecedented actions in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, with devastating consequences.
CNN’s Toobin: Comey May Get in Trouble for ‘The Kind of Thing That Hillary Clinton Was Tortured About’
“Can we talk about karma here for a second?” Toobin asked. “Remember, Comey has been saying, ‘Well, these memos weren’t marked classified so they weren’t classified.’ This is what Hillary Clinton said about her emails. But just because something isn’t marked classified, after the fact, the classification authorities who are wildly overzealous can mark things as classified and in fact based on what was released yesterday, it appears that some of the Comey memos do contain classified information. So he could wind up getting in trouble for precisely the kind of thing that Hillary Clinton was tortured about, which I think might well give satisfaction to Hillary’s people long after the fact.”
In my world, everything a cabinet member says to a President and vice versa should be protected by executive privilege. Either that, or make them all live in goldfish bowls. I can live either way. But none of this selective leaking. Byron York: New revelations shed light on Comey, Trump, and that 'loyalty' demand
Why would Trump wonder about the FBI director's loyalty? Perhaps because in their first meeting, the FBI director dropped the Moscow sex allegation on Trump, followed immediately by its publication in the media. It seems entirely reasonable for a president to wonder what was going on and whether the FBI director was loyal, not to the president personally, but to the confidentiality that is required in his role as head of the nation's chief investigative agency.

A few more things. We had known earlier that Comey briefed Trump about the dossier one-on-one on January 6, 2017. But it was not until an interview Thursday with CNN's Jake Tapper that Comey revealed the conversation was only about the Moscow sex allegation. The other parts of the dossier -- about Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, allegations of collusion -- Comey did not mention to the president-elect. No wonder Trump associated the dossier with the Moscow sex story.

We also know, from the new book Russian Roulette, by Michael Isikoff and David Corn, that immediately after the first Comey meeting, Trump thought the FBI was blackmailing him:

"Trump had seen this sort of thing before," they write. "Certainly, his old mentor Roy Cohn -- the notorious fixer for mobsters and crooked pols -- knew how this worked. So too did Comey's famous predecessor J. Edgar Hoover, who had quietly let it be known to politicians and celebrities that he possessed information that could destroy their careers in a New York minute."
Under attack, the FBI becomes a partisan battleground Its justly earned reputation for blackmailing politicians in one reason the FBI as it exists need to be reconfigured, with new safeguards.

The Rift Between McCabe and Comey Could Help Trump - Both former top FBI officials are potential witnesses in the obstruction probe focusing on the president—and each is now attacking the other's credibility. This is a potential problem in the prosecution of the pair. They both have an interest in blowing up the trials, and neither has a good reputation for truth telling at this point. Never-Trumper David French: Andrew McCabe Report Explodes Republican and Democratic Myths Alike. The OIG report gets him for lying about the Clinton probe, not for his pro-Clinton biases. It's certainly an easier case. And not all the shoes have dropped yet.

Trump casts doubt on legality of special counsel Mueller

I think it's a good moral case but not a good legal case.

Stacy McCain: Hillary, Democrats and the Blame Game
Why did Donald Trump get elected? Democrats are still making excuses, adding “Russian collusion” to the Fear, Hate and Corporate Greed narrative by which they previously explained GOP victories. The “collusion” narrative is imploding (along with the credibility of Comey and Mueller), and the reality of Trump’s success — the booming economy, the defeat of ISIS, etc. — is undermining the confidence of Democrats that they can win a congressional majority in November.

What happened in 2016 was a revolution of sorts. Donald Trump’s candidacy attracted voters to the GOP primary who had previously been ignored or taken for granted by the Republican leadership. Some of them had been Tea Party voters in 2010, some of them had been Ron Paul voters, and others were attracted by what Steve Bannon called Trump’s “economic nationalism.” All of them, however, were sick and tired of the Play Nice and Lose approach to politics embodied by Mitt Romney. To a certain kind of grassroots American voter, the typical attitude of Republican politicians — that they must always be polite and avoid saying mean things about Democrats, so as to maintain a spirit of bipartisan civility — looks a lot like unmanly cowardice. What many grassroots Americans admire most in a leader is toughness, manifested as a willingness to speak blunt words: “Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” It must be recalled that many of Ronald Reagan’s advisers didn’t want him to say those undiplomatic words, and to this day the Republican Party struggles to overcome the influence of those within the party who consider “respectability” to be the correct standard of political discourse. It is better to lose an election in a respectable manner than to win rudely, according to the Play Nice and Lose school of GOP strategy, and Donald Trump’s success is an embarrassment to them.

Despite my own populist impulses, I am still uncomfortable with many of President Trump’s personal tendencies, but this is like me saying as an Alabama fan that I don’t like Nick Saban’s coaching style except for the fact that he keeps winning national championships.
That's about where I am. There are certainly downsides to having a non-politician in the position, but it's politicians that made politician a dirty word. Trump says he doesn't think personal lawyer will 'flip'
"Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble," even if "it means lying or making up stories," Trump said, before adding: "Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!"
Would the DOJ and the FBI suborn perjury? Well, they have in the past.

OUCH! Wikileaks fires back at DNC after lawsuit over 2016 election (and it’s brutal)

Yep, that hurts.

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