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Thursday, June 08, 2017

Comey Testimony's Red Meat, Admits He's a Leaker

By Douglas V. Gibbs
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My first thoughts about today's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee by James Comey, the former FBI Director? Comey admitted he's one of the leakers.  He did not follow protocol, and his memo, which is the property of the United States Government, was provided to the outside world without even a whisper towards the processes required to be followed before releasing government owned communications to the general public. . . or in his case, Columbia Law Professor Daniel Richman.

While Comey tried to discuss his interactions with President Donald Trump as being sessions where the president was trying to obstruct the investigation, the presence of too many other disturbing revelations steered attention away from Trump, and towards the reality that Comey lies, doesn't follow procedure, and therefore, can't be trusted.

While Comey refused to indicate whether or not he believed Trump's alleged requests to end the investigation influenced it, other testimonies have shown that even if Trump did make the request, the FBI investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn purred on without any hiccup or hesitation.  So, if Trump desired an obstruction of justice, it didn't happen.

Comey's testimony did not convince this writer that he was pressured by Trump to end the investigation, but the former FBI Chief did reveal that that kind of pressure is not solely a Republican game.  Comey testified that Loretta Lynch, the former attorney general under Barack Obama, pressured him to downplay the Clinton email server investigation and only to refer to it as a “matter.”

Comey said that when he asked Lynch if she was going to authorize him to confirm the existence of the Clinton email investigation, her answer was, “Yes, but don’t call it that. Call it a matter.” When Comey asked why, he said, Lynch wouldn’t give him an explanation. “Just call it a matter,” she said.

Comey added later that he was concerned about that direction as it was false. He was further concerned because it aligned with the Clinton campaign’s spin on the investigation.

Lynch’s order, Comey said, “concerned me because that language tracked the way the campaign was talking about the FBI’s work and that’s concerning.”

Democrats have still decided that Comey's testimony is enough to go after Donald Trump for obstruction to justice, but not only has it not been proven that Trump tried to influence the federal investigation, as the top man of the executive branch, he has the authority to direct the FBI Director as necessary.

Without full evidence, Comey essentially vindicated the president, but honestly, the vindication was not required.

Obstruction was the basis of impeachment proceedings against president Richard Nixon in the 1973-74 Watergate scandal and Bill Clinton in 1998 over his affair with an intern.  In the first case, seeing the writing on the wall of an impending impeachment, Nixon resigned.  Clinton was impeached, but survived the hearing and was not removed from office despite the fact that he was caught lying under oath.

Impeachment can only be initiated by the House of Representatives.  The Senate hears the case, and renders the decision.  Since the House is currently under Republican control, the likelihood of an impeachment to be called is not very good.

Expect impeachment to be the rallying cry of the Democrats running for the House in the 2018 mid-term elections.

Getting back to the allegation that Trump tried to influence the investigation, Comey confirmed in his testimony his belief that the president has the authority to direct the FBI to stop investigating any individual, despite the screams of the Democrat Party and the mainstream media.  From a constitutional viewpoint, the President is the boss of the executive branch, and he has the authority to decide who gets investigated, who to stop investigating, who to prosecute and who not to prosecute. The Justice Department and the FBI work under him and he may direct them as he wishes. 

Past presidents, both from the time of the founding of this country, to recent examples (including Obama) have directed the Justice Department regarding ongoing investigations.

Yet, all of the liberal left progressive socialist commie members of the mainstream media have been repeating over and over again how they believe he can't.  A rabid desire to "get Trump" doesn't make something true.

Since even Comey has acknowledged that the Constitution permits the president to direct the Justice Department and the FBI in the issues they are involved in, the issue of obstruction of justice is a meaningless attack.

The Democrats are doing what the federal judges have been doing regarding his executive orders.  They are ignoring the rule of law, and have decided Trump can't do what he's doing because they politically disagree with what he did.  Never mind the rule of law, they are letting ideology dictate their lawless desires and decision-making.

Comey’s testimony revealed he is obviously not a fan of Donald J. Trump.  He is also angry with the President.  I suppose I would be too, if the guy fired me.  However, Comey didn't hurt Trump's case, but actually helped it, and he provided useful insights into the ongoing investigations that will ultimately free Trump from this ridiculous distraction that is likely interfering, at least partly, with his duties as President of the United States.

In short, there was nothing criminal or unconstitutional about Trump firing Comey, or saying (if he even said it) to Comey that he let go of the investigation of General Flynn.  Trump had a right as President to advise Comey regarding the investigation no different than the fact that Trump has the constitutional authority to pardon Flynn if he had gotten convicted.

During the hearing Comey also reaffirmed the untruthfulness of the mainstream media.  Regarding a New York Times report
Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials. 
American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election. 
The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation. But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.
Senator James Risch (R-Idaho) asked Comey if he remembered the article.

Comey said he did; “It was about allegedly extensive electronic surveillance,” he said.

Risch noted that after the report came out, Comey “sought out both Republican and Democrat senators to tell them that, hey, I don’t know where this is coming from, but this is not factual.”

Risch told Comey: “So the American people can understand this, that report by the New York Times was not true. Is that a fair statement?”

“In the main – it was not true,” Comey said. “The challenge -- and I’m not picking on reporters -- about writing stories about classified information is that people talking about it often don’t really know what is going on. And those of us who actually know what’s going on aren’t talking about it. And we don’t call the press to say, hey, you got that thing wrong about this sensitive topic. We just have to leave it there.”

The New York Times got it wrong because they assumed they had it right, and the real evidence would eventually reveal itself.  Except, the predicted storm never arrived, because there was no truth to it.

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) noted that one of the three things Trump asked Comey was: “Can you please tell the American people what these leaders in Congress already know -- what you already know, you told me three times -- that I am not personally under investigation.”

“You know,” Rubio continued, “this investigation is full of leaks, left and right. I mean, we’ve learned more from the newspaper sometimes than we do from our open hearings, for sure.

“You ever wonder why, of all the things in this investigation, the only thing that’s never been leaked is the fact that the president was not personally under investigation, despite the fact that both Democrats and Republicans and the leadership of Congress knew that and have known that for weeks?”

Comey responded: “I don’t know, I find matters that are briefed to the Gang of Eight are pretty tightly held, in my experience.”

Trump's lawyer jumped all over Comey's testimony.

Marc Kasowitz said that Comey's testimony proved that Trump did not collude with Russia during last year's election nor try to obstruct justice in the FBI investigation — and went on to accuse the former FBI director of directing unauthorized news leaks designed to damage the president.

Comey’s testimony, he said, "makes clear that the president never sought to impede the investigation into attempted Russian interference in the 2016 election."

"And in fact, according to Mr. Comey, the president told Mr. Comey 'it would be good to find out' in that investigation if there were 'some satellite associates of his who did something wrong.'"

Kasowitz said Comey, in reference to the leaked memos, "admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the president."

Comey said he leaked the memos because he hoped news reports would prompt the appointment of a special counsel.

Kasowitz called Comey's actions "retaliatory" and added that "we will leave it to the appropriate authorities to determine whether the leaks should be investigated along with all those others being investigated."

In short, the evidence the Democrats were looking for does not exist, and the admitted crimes by Comey during his testimony outweigh any testimony that may pin Trump down for anything, such as obstruction.

White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of Comey's testimony, "I can definitely say the president is not a liar.  It’s frankly insulting that that question would be asked.”

While Trump, according to Kasowitz, never sought a loyalty oath from the FBI director, the attorney did add "the Office of the President is entitled to expect loyalty from those who are serving in an administration," and that Trump has been betrayed by people leaking privileged information.

"It is now established that the president was not being investigated for colluding with the Russians attempting to obstruct that investigation," Kasowitz said. "As the committee pointed out today, these important facts for the country to know are virtually the only facts that have not leaked during the long course of these events."

When asked if Trump was following the testimony by Comey, Sean Spicer said that Trump's focus is not on the distractions, but "on pursuing the agenda and the priorities that he was elected to do."

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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