Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Gabby At The Gallows

Trump Fires FBI Director:

President Trump on Tuesday fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, abruptly terminating the top official leading a criminal investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s advisers colluded with the Russian government to steer the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
The stunning development in Mr. Trump’s presidency raised the specter of political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation by the nation’s leading law enforcement agency. It immediately ignited Democratic calls for a special counsel to lead the Russia inquiry.
Mr. Trump explained the firing by citing Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, even though the president was widely seen to have benefited politically from that inquiry and had once praised Mr. Comey for his “guts” in his pursuit of Mrs. Clinton during the campaign.
But in his letter to Mr. Comey, released to reporters by the White House, the president betrayed his focus on the continuing inquiry into Russia and his aides.
You can read his error-filled termination letter to Comey here, as well as the grammatically sloppy, full of typos, memorandums supporting the termination from AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, and his Deputy AG Roderick Rosenstein (who, like Sessions, is another federal judgeship reject).

In fact, the title of Rosenstein's churlish memorandum, "Restoring Public Confidence in the FBI" has pissed off agents, legal, and rank and file staff throughout the Bureau. I'm not sure you could pick a better way to self-immolate than that.

Well, except maybe this: 
“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” Mr. Trump said in a letter to Mr. Comey dated Tuesday. White House officials refused to say anything more about the three occasions Mr. Trump cited.
That's because they didn't happen (for a brutal recitation of all of "Trump's lies" so far, read this). In fact, despite the parsing that this is about "Trump's associates" and the campaign, there is evidence to the contrary that the criminal investigation Comey was leading by the FBI does include Trump individually and in his capacity as president. That gets us into clear obstruction territory.

And probably explains why dude is apparently "yelling at the t.v." enraged by what he's seeing in the news about Comey and the mushrooming Russia/Treason investigation. Raging at the t.v...kind of like Nixon raging at the portraits of Kennedy and Lincoln at 3am, crocked out of his mind, in the final days of Watergate.

Which is why this is so deliciously Nixonian. Even though Nixon never fired the FBI Director, he fired the special prosecutors investigating Watergate (which included "Nixon's associates" and ultimately Nixon himself), only to find himself swinging in the gallows less than a year later.

People seem to think impeachment and removal from office is the worst that could happen to Trump, but it's always possible that formal criminal charges could lead to him ending up in cuffs and leg irons, being frog-marched out the front of the White House. Some have even suggested he could end up out at the ADX in Florence (where those convicted of treason go), though I have a hard time seeing how that could happen since a Ford/Nixon kind of pardon would probably come down via Pence first.

Nonetheless, most people assume dead men walking are very meek, mild, and humble on their way to the gallows. But many often put up a fight, get very gabby and verbose, and wrangle till the noose is tightened just behind the left ear and the floor drops.

I think you're seeing the latter here.

UPDATE: Talk about your day after tone-deaf responses:
At the White House, Mr. Trump shrugged off accusations of presidential interference in a counterintelligence investigation. He hosted a surreal and awkwardly timed meeting in the Oval Office with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, and Sergey I. Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the United States. Mr. Kislyak’s private meetings with Mr. Trump’s aides are a key part of the sprawling investigation.
White House officials denied American reporters permission to witness the Oval Office meeting or take photographs, but Russian state news outlets published images taken by their official photographer of a beaming Mr. Trump shaking hands with the envoys. The pictures quickly spread on Twitter.
And TASS, the official news agency of the Russian government, then sold pics to the U.S. press to use. So think about that: our "fake news" outlets are using Russian-approved propaganda in their news coverage of our own president. 

And then, after going to extraordinary lengths to keep the U.S. fake news out of the Oval while the prez met with the Russians yesterday, no one thought this picture, also of a meeting he had yesterday (yesterday of all days!) might be a bad idea as well.

Awesome. Forget the "echoes" of IS 1974 all over again.

UPDATE II: Trump Threatens Comey With Tapes:
Donald Trump warned on Friday James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director he fired this week, if Mr. Comey leaks anything negative about the president and warned the news media that he may cancel all future White House briefings.
In a series of angry, early-morning tweets, Mr. Trump even seemed to suggest that there may be secret tapes of his conversations with Mr. Comey that could be used to counter the former F.B.I. director if necessary. It was not immediately clear whether he meant that literally or simply hoped to intimidate Mr. Comey into silence.
“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.
Mr. Trump appeared agitated over news reports on Friday that focused on contradictory accounts of his decision to fire Mr. Comey at the same time the F.B.I. is investigating ties between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.
Mr. Trump’s mention of tapes did nothing to dispel the echoes of Watergate heard in Washington this week. His dismissal of Mr. Comey in the midst of an investigation into Mr. Trump’s associates struck many as similar to President Richard M. Nixon’s decision in October 1973 to fire Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor, in an incident that came to be known as the Saturday Night Massacre.

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