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Tag: donald trump

Trump Swings Back at Comey After ex-FBI Boss Slammed President on National TV

President Trump answering media questions on Air Force One. Photo via the White House.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump fired back at James Comey on Monday after the fired FBI director slammed Trump on national television, comparing him to a mob boss who is “morally unfit to be president.”

On Twitter, Trump’s favorite platform for hyperbole, the president suggested Comey and fired FBI Deputy Director  Andrew McCabe “committed many crimes,” a claim

“Comey drafted the Crooked Hillary exoneration long before he talked to her (lied in Congress to Senator G), then based his decisions on her poll numbers. Disgruntled, he, McCabe, and the others, committed many crimes!” Trump tweeted Monday morning, a day after Comey appeared on ABC’s 20/20 with a litany of accusations against the president.

On Friday morning, a day after details of Comey’s memoir, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership,” were reported by the media, Trump called the former FBI boss “a weak and untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI.”

“James Comey is a proven LEAKER & LIAR,” Trump tweeted. “Virtually everyone in Washington thought he should be fired for the terrible job he did-until he was, in fact, fired. He leaked CLASSIFIED information, for which he should be prosecuted. He lied to Congress under OATH. He is a weak and untruthful slime ball who was, as time has proven, a terrible Director of the FBI. His handling of the Crooked Hillary Clinton case, and the events surrounding it, will go down as one of the worst ‘botch jobs’ of history. It was my great honor to fire James Comey!”

Republicans have been preparing an attack on Comey’s credibility as he embarks on a book tour about a memoir that portrays Trump as a “forest fire” that threatens to undermine the nation’s values and norms.

Trump fired Comey in May, prompting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint special counsel Robert Mueller, in part, to determine if the FBI director’s termination amounted to obstruction of justice.

In the book, Comey described Trump’s presidency as a “forest fire” that threatens to undermine the nation’s values and norms.

400+ DOJ Officials Urge Congress to Respond ‘Swiftly’ If Trump Fires Mueller

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Hundreds of former Justice Department employees are calling on Congress to “swiftly and forcefully respond” if President Trump fires special counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the probe.

“It is up to the rest of us, and especially our elected representatives, to come to their defense and oppose any attempt by the President or others to improperly interfere in the Department’s work,” read a statement signed by more than 400 former officials who worked under current and previous administrations.

The statement adds, “We served out of a commitment to the founding American principles that our democratic republic depends upon the rule of law, that the law must be applied equally, and no one is above the law. … Those of us who served with these men know them to be dedicated public servants committed to these principles.”

Trump has stepped up his attack on the FBI and Justice Department, accusing top law enforcement officials of engaging in a politically driven “witch hunt.” He recently called the Justice Department “an embarassment to our country!” in a tweet.

Former and current Justice Department officials said in the statement that they are “deeply  disturbed by the attacks that have been levied against the good men and women of the Department.”

“Not only is it an insult to their public service, but any attempt to corrupt or undermine the evenhanded application of the rule of law threatens the foundation of our Republic,” the statement read.

Lengel: Comey Gets Kudos For Speaking Out, But Still No Free Pass For Doing Wrong Thing in Some Instances

Former FBI Director James Comey on A?BC’s 20/20.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-FBI Director James Comey delivered some damaging blows to the Donald Trump presidency during his Sunday night interview on ABC, calling Trump unfit for office and suggesting Trump obstructed justice when he asked that the Michael Flynn probe be dropped.

It was a welcome interview, and a candid one, that was needed under the circumstances with a president who has so little respect for boundaries, the truth and the rule of law.

But I still don’t buy Comey’s defense for saying far too much when he issued a statement in 2016 that there would be no charges in the Hillary Clinton case. Ditto for his explanation for sending the letter to Congress that he was re-opening the Clinton investigation. I don’t buy it.

Comey was a popular director beloved by many inside the FBI. He was a modern-day G-man, articulate and smart. But he did have an ego, as many in official Washington have,  and sometimes he was a little too concerned about his boy scout image above all else.

First off, let’s get to the statement he made about the Clinton investigation in 2016. In Sunday’s interview he says:

“My view was– and this is a longstanding practice of the Department of Justice, that in rare cases, you should offer transparency so the American people can take a look at what you did and know that it was done in an honest, competent, independent way.”

There were certainly people inside the FBI, particularly in New York, who assumed the agency had enough to criminally charge Clinton. So, yes it’s understandable that Comey wanted to be transparent, defend himself and explain why he wasn’t charging. But right is right. Any federal prosecutor or agent knows you can’t announce that you’re not charging someone, then go on and trash them as if you just had.

It’s improper.

Then there’s the letter to Congress days before the election. The Justice Department policy is not to influence an election when at all possible.

Comey is asked by George Stephanopoulos: “If you knew that letter would elect Donald Trump, you’d still send it?”

Comey responds: “I would. I would. In fact, that was a question asked by one of my best people– a deputy general counsel in the FBI who is a very thoughtful and quiet person, who didn’t speak a lot. And that– that morning we were making that decision, she asked, ‘Should you consider that what you’re about do to may help elect Donald Trump president?’

“And I paused, and then I said, ‘Thank you for asking that question. That’s a great question. But the answer is not for a moment because down that path lies the death of the FBI as an independent force in American life. If I ever start considering whose political fortunes will be affected by a decision, we’re done. We’re no longer that group in America that is apart from the partisans, and that can be trusted. We’re just another player in the– in the tribal battle.”

Comey indicates his honor and the FBI’s honor was on the line and he had to tell Congress that there was a new development in the Clinton probe.

That being said, so too, on the line, was the integrity of the election.

He decided his image was more important than the election.

Plus, truth be told,  he had a cover. The Justice Department told him not to send the letter, and technically, the Justice Department is his boss.

If he had gotten grief from members of Congress about not notifying them of the new development before the election, he could have said he wanted to but the Justice Department told him not to.

All that being said,  Comey gets kudos for helping bring more transparency to a troubled presidency.

White House Hatches Risky Plan to Oust Rosenstein Amid Escalating Federal Probes

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifying before a House committee in December 2017.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI raid on the law office and hotel room of Donald Trump’s personal attorney has spurred the White House to build a case for firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of president pulling the plug on the special counsel investigation.

The plan involves Trump’s allies attacking Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller in May and is overseeing the probe, to avoid the appearance that Trump is obstructing the investigation, the Wall Street Journal reports

Rosenstein’s firing is “a matter of when, not if,” one person who spoke with Trump said.

The plan to discredit Rosenstein comes after the deputy attorney general signed off on the FBI’s seizure of records between Trump and his longtime attorney Micahel Cohen on Monday.

Removing Rosenstein would allow Trump to replace his deputy attorney general with an ally willing to fire Mueller, a move reminiscent of President Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” in which he fired Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973. The bold decision prompted Congress to begin talking about impeachment.

In private conversations, Rosenstein said he’s aware his firing may be imminent and that he’s at peace with it because he chose integrity over blind loyalty to the president, NBC News reported

Ex-FBI Director Comey Compares Trump to Mafia Boss, Calls Presidency a ‘Forest Fire’

Former FBI Director James Comey.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Fired FBI Director James Comey pulls no punches in his explosive new memoir, portraying Donald Trump as a dangerous, delusional, self-obsessed and chronically dishonest bully whose presidency is a “forest fire” that threatens to undermine the nation’s values and norms.

“This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional values,” Comey writes in “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.” “His leadership is transactional, ego driven and about personal loyalty.”

Comey, who served as FBI director from 2013 until Trump abruptly fired him in May 2017, also explains his handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation and shares details about his upbringing and career at the bureau and Justice Department.

Here are five takeaways from the book, which is scheduled to be released Tuesday.

1. Trump like the mob

Comey likened the president to the mobsters he used to pursue as a federal prosecutor: “The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.” 

The president’s chronic dishonesty and bullying, Comey wrote, was central “to the entire enterprise of organized crime on both sides of the Atlantic.”

Comey warned: “We are experiencing a dangerous time in our country,” Comey writes, “with a political environment where basic facts are disputed, fundamental truth is questioned, lying is normalized and unethical behavior is ignored, excused or rewarded.”

2. Trump’s obsession with the “golden showers thing”

Comey wrote that the president asked him four times to discredit the salacious, but unverified dossier in which ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele alleged Trump watched prostitutes pee on each other in a Moscow hotel suite.

“‘I’m a germaphobe,'” Comey quoted Trump saying. “‘There’s no way I would let people pee on each other around me. No way.'”

Trump said the claims were distressing to his wife.

“For about the fourth time, he argued that the ‘golden showers thing’ wasn’t true,” Comey wrote, saying Trump asked, “‘Can you imagine me, hookers?'”

3. The president’s “expressionless blue eyes”

During his first in-person session with Trump, Comey recalled the president’s appearance with great attention attention to detail.

“His face appeared slightly orange, with bright white half-moons under his eyes where I assumed he placed small tanning goggles,” Comey wrote, describing Trump as having “expressionless blue eyes” and “impressively coifed, bright blond hair, which upon close inspection looked to be all his.”

Comey wrote that he never saw Trump laugh, which he suggested was a sign of the president’s “deep insecurity, his inability to be vulnerable or to risk himself by appreciating the humor of others, which, on reflection, is really very sad in a leader, and a little scary in a president.”

4. John Kelly calls Trump “dishonorable”

Just minutes after he was fired, Comey said he received “an emotional call” from John Kelly, then the head of Homeland Security and now the White House chief of staff.

During the call, Kelly said he intended to quit in protest because he didn’t want to work for dishonest people, referring specially to Trump. 

Comey wrote: “I urged Kelly not to do that, arguing that the country needed principled people around this president. Especially this president.”

5. Comey’s handling of the Clinton probe

In describing in controversial decision to publicly disclose the bureau was re-opening the Clinton investigation just 11 days before the election, Comey said he believed Clinton was going to win because of her favorable polls.

Comey wrote that he often questions whether that assumption influenced his decision to reveal the information.

“It is entirely possible that, because I was making decisions in an environment where Hillary Clinton was sure to be the next president, my concern about making her an illegitimate president by concealing the restarted investigation bore greater weight than it would have if the election appeared closer or if Donald Trump were ahead in all polls. But I don’t know.”

Comey, who told the Senate Judiciary Committee in May 2017 that he felt “mildly nauseous” at the prospect that the disclosure changed the outcome of the election, wrote that he hopes “very much that what we did — what I did — wasn’t a deciding factor in the election.”

About a week after the testimony, Trump fired Comey, prompting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint special counsel Robert Mueller.

Trump Allies Fear FBI Agents Seized Recorded Conversations in Raid

Longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was known to record conversations with his clients and associates, stoking fear among the president’s allies that digital audio files were seized in the FBI’s raid of Cohen’s offices and residences earlier this week.

Cohen often recorded phone conversations and replayed them for colleagues, the Washington Post reports

FBI agents seized Cohen’s computers and phones in a raid that sought, among other records, all communications between Cohen and Trump and his campaign aides.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Cohen taped conversations with Trump, who one associate said was aware of Cohen’s practice of recording phone calls because the attorney often played the recordings he had with other top Trump advisers.

“It was his standard practice to do it,” one source told the Post.

Legal experts said recorded conversations would be bad news for Cohen.

“If you are looking for evidence, you can’t do any better than people talking on tape,” said Nick Akerman, a former Watergate prosecutor.

Other Stories of Interest

Amid Impeachment Threat, DOJ Gives Nunes Access to Trump Probe Document

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who threatened to hatch a plan to impeach senior Justice Department officials for failing to turn over a confidential report, said Wednesday he’s “finally” received the highly classified document that launched the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Nunes, a President Trump ally and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had threatened to impeach FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if they didn’t turn over the report.

Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., went to the Justice Department to view the document, which is said to spell out the justification for launching the investigation n 2016 into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia, CNN reported

Nunes didn’t comment on the substance of the report, and because it’s classified, didn’t reveal details.

“After numerous unfulfilled requests for an Electronic Communication (EC) related to the opening of the FBI’s Russia counterintelligence probe, Chairman Trey Gowdy and I met this afternoon with Attorney General Rod Rosenstein,” Nunes said in a statement.

“During the meeting, we were finally given access to a version of the EC that contained the information necessary to advance the Committee’s ongoing investigation of the Department of Justice and FBI,” Nunes continued.

Steve Bannon Pitches Plan to Save President by Stymying Mueller Probe

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon has pitched a bold plan to protect President Trump from the advancing special counsel investigation.

The Washington Post reports that Bannon, who was ousted last summer, advised members of Trump’s inner circle and congressional allies to encourage the president to first fire Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller in May to investigate Russian melding in the 2016 presidential election and approved the raid on the office of Trump’s attorney. 

Bannon also suggested the White House should stop cooperating with Mueller, invoke executive privilege to prevent further interviews with staff and fire his current legal team. The former Breitbart chief said Trump could then make a legal case that past interviews between his staff and Mueller’s team should be stricken from the record because the president’s attorneys didn’t advise him of all his options.

“The president wasn’t fully briefed by his lawyers on the implications” of not invoking executive privilege, Bannon told The Washington Post in an interview Wednesday. “It was a strategic mistake to turn over everything without due process, and executive privilege should be exerted immediately and retroactively.”

Legal experts were skeptical of the plan, and it’s unclear whether Trump will consider, though he has suggested taking similar steps in the past.

Democrats and some Republicans said they would vote to impeach the president if he fires Mueller, who is investigating whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia and if the president obstructed justice by firing then-FBI Director James Comey.

According to past interviews, Bannon believes crimes were committed by Trump’s campaign. He even told author Michael Wolff that the Mueller probe likely will focus on money laundering, saying, “They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.” 

Bannon also told 60 Minutes that firing Comey was the biggest mistake “maybe in modern political history.”