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The Russian conspiracy, Comey, Mueller, and related matters

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I'm thinking this needs its own thread:

30 minute video


Scholar Victor Davis Hanson says there’s a “big lie” surrounding the “boogeyman of Russian collusion” that Democrats and the media rally around, according to an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Hanson’s analysis begins by reminding us of the recent massive Democratic losses, which he places at the feet of President Barack Obama’s policies and identity politics gone awry. “The blue wall crumbled,” he says, turning working people against the Democrats in droves. The party then scrambled for any alternative to explain the electoral defeats.

He mentions the financial entanglements with President Vladimir Putin’s Russia by Former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton that betray the sudden growing Russiaphobia of most Democrats.

When “the big lie” of Russian collusion is repeated by influential Democrats, doubt is cast and suspicions are raised against President Donald Trump, even without actual evidence. Then, Trump’s approval ratings are expected to fall, ensuring greater erosion of Republican support for the president’s agenda — an agenda that threatens the progressive project that was designed to ensure continued Democratic dominance.

Hanson predicts there will be new surprising evidence of Obama malfeasance against Trump over the next six months.

The scholar then discusses the causes and ramifications of the “Trump Derangement Syndrome” unfolding politically and culturally. He gives Trump high marks for using his unpredictability to restore vital deterrence on the world stage.

Yet, for many Republican elites, he says, they focus on Trump’s appearance — his Queen’s accent, and his gaudiness. A class-driven hostility to this president is revealed, Hanson says, when he hears such charges as, “he hangs out with wrestling people; he likes Mike Tyson; he’s just uncouth.”

In a “weird way” the polarization Obama’s identity politics brought to America will largely evaporate if Trump is able to bring about economic growth, which will unify us again, Hanson says.

As for Democratic leaders, he calls them simply “geriatric.”  He sees the younger ones as “unhinged and in search of an identity.” Rather than find policies to bring working class voters back to the Democratic Party, Hanson predicts they will rally around race, class, and gender, as well as climate change and other fads thought up by Hollywood and radical elites.

This compelling video features Hanson discussing the intolerance and infantilization on display on American campuses, as well as tips for ordinary Americans living with growing intolerance and incivility.

Well, well, looky here , , ,

Who is James Comey?

Who is Rod Rowenstein?

What implications?

G M:

--- Quote from: Crafty_Dog on May 15, 2017, 12:14:31 PM ---Well, well, looky here , , ,

Who is James Comey?

Who is Rod Rowenstein?

What implications?

--- End quote ---


The Shapiro Report for 5/11/2017

While the Democrats and media suggest that President Trump fired FBI director James Comey in order to somehow stymie an investigation into Russian collusion with the Trump team in the 2016 campaign, the more plausible theory was far less damning to Trump. I theorized on Wednesday that this was all an elaborate set-up for a bank heist. But that’s not the theory to which I’m referring. Here’s the actual

Trump fired Comey because he was angry Comey was allowing the Russia investigation to drag along, and used Comey’s ridiculous Congressional testimony as a pretext for firing him. Under this theory, Trump isn’t necessarily guilty of collusion with Russia — at least not knowingly — and he’s merely ticked off that Comey appeared to be dragging his feet while refusing to state openly that he had no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion.

Essentially, Trump believes that he had nothing to do with Russia; even if his former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and former campaign manager Paul Manafort had corrupt ties with the Kremlin, Trump doesn’t understand why that would implicate him personally, since he has never linked his fate with that of his subordinates. Trump was shocked and appalled that Comey wouldn’t simply come out and exonerate him, when he knew that Comey had no evidence of Trump’s direct involvement in anything; he was even more angry that Comey appeared to be fanning the conspiracy theory flames, even though Comey wouldn’t help him out with a bit of doubletalk on Obama administration wiretapping and leaks. So he fired him.
Unfortunately, when you
fire someone because they’re failing to clear you in a timely manner, it looks as though you’re firing them because they refuse to clear you at all. Thus the scandal.

All of which could have been avoided through some professional discretion.
could have dumped Comey ceremoniously, coordinated with his team, and ensured a suitable replacement was at hand. Instead, he decided he wanted Comey gone, told the deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to write up a memo saying why Comey had to go — a hook upon which to hang Trump’s hat — and then wrote his own letter basically admitting that he was firing Comey because Comey wouldn’t publicly exonerate him.

Here’s The Washington Post reporting:

Trump had long questioned Comey’s loyalty and judgment, and was infuriated by what he viewed as the director’s lack of action in recent weeks on leaks from within the federal government. By last weekend, he had made up his mind: Comey had to go… The president already had decided to fire Comey, according to this person. But in the meeting, several White House officials said Trump gave Sessions and Rosenstein a
directive: to explain in writing the case against Comey… The president already had decided to fire Comey, according to this person. But in the meeting, several White House officials said Trump gave Sessions and Rosenstein a directive: to explain in writing the case against Comey.

Trump is used to running a business. In business, the CEO is the dictator.
He can
fire people without blowback. If employees — people who serve at the pleasure of the president — cross him, the CEO can simply drop Trump’s signature line:
fired.” But as president, the job is a bit different. You can fire James Comey, but you’re likely to hear some outcry if the firing is perceived to be politically-motivated.

That’s what likely happened here.

Democrats have no evidence to suggest that Trump is shutting down the Russia investigation, although Trump would obviously like to do so — and he’d certainly like to expedite the process by which he can be cleared, so that the cloud hanging over his administration can dissipate. Unfortunately, with his rash and incompetent action here, he’s damned himself to months more of speculation at the very least… and if Flynn and Manafort end up in the dock, he may have done himself far more damage than that. This is just one problem with a knee-jerk reactionary with volatile emotional issues at the head of the executive branch — even if he isn’t in thrall to the Russians, his inability to see any perspective outside his own leads him to jump on a landmine he planted himself.


By Kenneth W. Starr
May 14, 2017 2:08 p.m. ET

The long knives are out. The ultimate doomsday scenario for a constitutional republic in peacetime—calls for impeachment of the president—has now been augmented by a growing chorus of voices demanding a far less dramatic but nonetheless profoundly serious step: appointment of a special prosecutor. Even for this less drastic move, the calls are way off base. At a minimum, the suggestion is premature.

The developing narrative, trumpeted on the weekend talk shows, is that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein must appoint a special prosecutor to restore his long-established reputation for integrity and professionalism. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the entire matter.

The basic complaint is that the newly appointed second-in-command at the Justice Department lost public confidence by crafting a three-page memorandum to the attorney general that severely criticized then-FBI Director James Comey, whom President Trump quickly fired. At least one senator has already mocked Mr. Rosenstein’s May 9 memorandum as “laughable.” They are wrong.

Let’s see what the Rosenstein memorandum actually says. It is titled “Restoring Public Confidence in the FBI.” Mr. Rosenstein rightly praises the bureau as “our nation’s premier investigative agency.” Mr. Rosenstein singles out Mr. Comey for high praise as “an articulate and persuasive speaker about leadership and the immutable principles of the Department of Justice.” The memorandum goes on to praise the FBI chief for his long and distinguished public service.

Mr. Rosenstein then turns to the director’s profound failures during his stewardship of the FBI. Above all, the new deputy attorney general states: “I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary [Hillary] Clinton’s emails.” In this Mr. Rosenstein echoes the vehement complaints by Democrats during the 2016 campaign, and indeed comments only last week by Mrs. Clinton herself. Even Republicans had raised an arched eyebrow at what the director did and when he chose to do it. The deputy attorney general goes on to express befuddlement that Mr. Comey still refuses “to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken.”

The memorandum then identifies the fatal offense of any FBI leader—the usurpation of the authority of the Justice Department itself. In a power grab, Mr. Comey had announced the ultimate prosecutorial decision, namely that Mrs. Clinton would not be prosecuted. The FBI director had no authority to do that. That was not all. Mr. Comey, the memo went on, “compounded the error” by holding a press conference releasing “derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation.” This was all way outside the foul lines of Justice Department professionalism.

Succinctly, but with devastating effectiveness, the Rosenstein memorandum demonstrates Mr. Comey’s egregious violations of long-settled Justice Department practice and policy. Mr. Rosenstein draws from the director’s testimony before Congress and his unprecedented letter to Congress days before the election. He addresses Mr. Comey’s argument that had he failed to insert himself once again into the presidential campaign—as voting was already under way in many states—it would have constituted “concealment.”

Balderdash, the deputy attorney general concludes, albeit in more polite language. Prosecutors, to say nothing of FBI directors, are not to set out a confidence-shattering bill of particulars with respect to any potential defendant’s conduct, and certainly not a presidential candidate in the heat of a national campaign.

Finally, the Rosenstein memorandum sets forth paragraph after paragraph recounting the scathing criticism of the director’s woefully timed election interference. The deputy attorney general demonstrates that his own conclusions are shared by a wide range of respected former officials of the Justice Department in both Democratic and Republican administrations. One example: President Clinton’s deputy attorney general, Jamie Gorelick, is quoted as condemning Mr. Comey for having “chosen personally to restrike the balance between transparency and fairness, departing from the department’s traditions.”

There’s nothing “laughable” about what the Rosenstein memorandum says. In setting forth undisputed and fireable offenses, the memorandum bespeaks professionalism, integrity and fidelity to Justice Department policy and practice, as befits the Harvard-trained lawyer and career prosecutor who was overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate only weeks ago.

Rod Rosenstein is universally respected, a broad-based admiration founded on his long service and distinguished record in the Justice Department. Unless stepping aside represents the deputy attorney general’s considered judgment as the right thing to do, calling in a special prosecutor now would simply cause further delay, add greater cost, and disrupt the continuing work of the FBI.

The bureau’s investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election is continuing, under the leadership of Acting Director Andrew McCabe. In addition, the work of the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee is well under way. Regardless of the unhappy fate of one public servant, the guardrails of constitutional republic are in place. And with its 10,000-plus special agents, the world’s most respected law-enforcement agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, should be encouraged to get on with the job, and a respected deputy attorney general permitted—with accountability to Congress—to come to his considered judgment. That’s precisely the kind of structural protection that the Founders had in mind over two centuries ago.

Mr. Starr served as a federal judge, solicitor general and Whitewater independent counsel.


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