The Justice Department, in the face of rising pressure from Capitol Hill, named former FBI chief Robert Mueller on Wednesday as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
“There’s . . . there’s two people I think Putin pays: [California Republican Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a private meeting of Republican Congressional leaders last June. When his colleagues laughed, McCarthy added, “Swear to God.”
President Donald Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to end the agency’s investigation into ties between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia, according to a source who has seen a memo written by Comey. The FBI director wrote the memo after he met in the Oval Office with Trump, the day after the president fired Flynn on February 14. “I hope you can let this go,” Trump told Comey, according to a source familiar with the contents of the memo.
The continuing fiasco of the president’s decision to fire James Comey has revealed secret taping in the Trump White House, at least according to those @realDonaldTrump tweets. (Of course, those tweets are as likely to be true as anything else uttered by Trump, meaning not too likely.) For press secretary Sean Spicer that requires covering up, obfuscating, and stonewalling Watergate-style, which is horrifying as White House conduct — and comedy gold for Stephen Colbert.
For the truly gullible, the White House brought forth that letter on the Comey firing from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — prompting Colbert to snark that the Department of Justice should be renamed “the Department of Justification.”
Daily Show host Trevor Noah often notes Trump’s growing resemblance to the African dictators he has long observed on his home continent — a resemblance that, in the wake of the firing of James Comey is even more glaring. As Noah puts it, the preposterous pretext proffered by Trump for dismissing the overseer of the Russia investigation is “the most gangster excuse” he’s ever heard.
The Trump rationale for firing Comey — as stated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — is obviously false for several reasons, even aside from the fact that Trump had welcomed Comey’s behavior toward Clinton in 2016 and literally embraced the FBI director in the Oval Office last January.
To Danziger, the testimony of James Comey sounded offensively self-serving, self-justifying, and self-pitying. The FBI director might have spared some pity for the nation that now suffers under the president he inflicted on us. Or as he said a few times in his testimony: “Lordy!”
Did the Trump campaign collude illegally with its Kremlin supporters both before and after Election Day 2016? There is much circumstantial evidence but no proof, as the suspects constantly insist. As Danziger suggests, this is a perfect case for someone like that old TV detective, Inspector Columbo, who specialized in locking up wealthy, immoral, arrogant criminals.
Coming two days after FBI director James Comey confirmed that agency has been investigating the Trump campaign’s connections with Russian interference in the election since July 2016, the CNN report is stunning but not surprising. It also follows an Associated Press report on Tuesday that Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chair, had secretly devised a plan as early as 2005 to “greatly aid” the Putin regime by influencing the U .S. government and media.
Still wondering whether Donald Trump lied about that “tapp” supposedly installed on his phone by order of President Obama? FBI Director James Comey settled that question today in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.
According to an analysis by a data firm that tracks the psychological elements below patterns of consumer behavior and moods, Donald Trump won the election the moment that James Comey reopened the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The New York Times reports that Comey’s request was motivated by concern over the FBI’s credibility as well as the prospect of raised expectations among Trump critics that federal law enforcement has clear evidence of Trump team ties to Russian officials.
In the drama of Watergate, the Nixon White House was brought down by the coverup — notably its attempt to stymie the FBI. Similar maneuvers by the Trump White House in its current distress are sufficiently blatant and ridiculous to inspire a Danziger tableau.
I heard your voice like a firebell in the middle of the night — from that beautiful phone — but you know, I can’t be at your beck and call. Here I am on an island in the blue, taking time out from writing timeless prose from the chamber of my mind. The world is waiting for another memoir. Michelle’s here, but she does not send her regards. My wife has serious issues with you, and says Melania does, too.
You’re no longer an emperor, Mr. So-Called President. You’re now what is called a “public servant” — in effect, an employee with 324 million bosses. And let me tell you something about those bosses. They’re unruly and loud, long accustomed to speaking their minds without fear or fetter. And they believe power must always answer to the people.
Top White House officials have been reviewing Flynn’s contacts with the Russians and whether he discussed the possibility of lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia once Trump took office. That would potentially be in violation of a law banning private citizens from engaging in foreign policy, known as the Logan Act.
“He’s not out of the woods,” said a U.S. official who is familiar with the transcripts of intercepted communications between Flynn and the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, in late December. This official said Flynn “did discuss sanctions.”
Now that the horses have left the barn, trotted out the front gate, and are galloping headlong down the county road, editors at the New York Times have taken to public bickering about who left the stalls unlatched. Not that it’s doing the rest of us much good.
The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General said its probe would focus in part on decisions leading up to public communications by FBI Director James Comey regarding the Clinton investigation, and whether underlying investigative decisions may have been based on “improper considerations.”
Even after 16 months on the campaign trail, political journalists never figured out how to accurately depict the unprecedented nature of Trump’s candidacy. Now they must find a way to reckon with and report on a president who has no regard for the freedom of the press or the norms of his office.