Comey’s Mishandling of Classified Information

Recently, there has been controversy over allegations that former FBI Director Comey leaked classified information, an issue that I mentioned on twitter  a month ago. The recent news-cycle began with a story in The Hill,  leading to a tweet by Trump, followed by a series of sneering “rebuttals” in the media (CNN, Slate, Politico, Vanity Fair).  Comey defenders (like Hillary Clinton’s) claim that classification was done “retroactively”:

In fact, the Hill’s John Solomon noted that it’s unclear whether the classified information in the memos was classified at the time the memos were written and Politico’s Austin Wright reports Monday afternoon that some of Comey’s memos were indeed classified only retroactively

Thus far undiscussed by either side is Comey’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee on March 20, which dealt directly with both the classification of details of Comey’s January 6 meeting with Trump and Comey’s understanding of obligations in respect to classified information. (Comey’s questionable briefing and conduct in the January 6 meeting merit extremely close scrutiny, but that’s a story for another day.)  The net result is that it seems inescapable that Comey either misled the congressional committee or mishandled classified information.

The January 6 Meeting

There was much public anticipation for Trump’s January 6 intelligence briefing, presented to him by Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and NSA director Michael Rogers. An unclassified intel assessment was concurrently released on January 6, which, in respect to hacking allegations, added nothing to the earlier Dec 29 intel assessment on hacking. The presence of Comey, Brennan, Clapper and Rogers at the intel briefing was widely reported.  Towards the end of the briefing, Comey asked for the opportunity to meet with Trump one-on-one.

After Trump aides and the other three intel directors left the room, Comey briefed Trump on the Steele Dossier, the story of which remains mostly untold. The Steele Dossier, paid for by a still unidentified “Democratic donor”, had been produced by a DC opposition research firm (Fusion GPS) directly connected with the “Kremlin-connected” lawyer, Natalia Veselniskaya, who had met with Donald Trump Jr in June 2016. Although the Steele Dossier contained multiple fabrications, its lurid allegations were taken very seriously by both the CIA and FBI, which, together with other government agencies, had been investigating them for months. Although Comey later objected to Trump talking to him one-on-one without a DOJ minder present, it was Comey himself who initiated the practice.

According to Comey’s written evidence on June 5, the ostensible purpose of Comey’s briefing to Trump on unverified material was to “alert the incoming President to the existence of this material” because they “we knew the media was about to publicly report the material” and, “to the extent there was some effort to compromise an incoming President, we could blunt any such effort with a defensive briefing.”  Even though the FBI, CIA and other agencies had been investigating allegations in the Steele Dossier for months, Comey, “without [Trump] directly asking the question”), “offered [Trump] assurance” “that we were not investigating him personally” supposedly to avoid any “uncertain[ty]” on Trump’s part “about whether the FBI was conducting a counter-intelligence investigation of his personal conduct”.

Comey’s briefing to Trump on January 6 appears to have intentionally misled Trump about counter-intelligence investigations into the Steele dossier, in effect treating Trump like a perp, rather than a legitimately elected president.  It took a while for Trump to figure out that he was being played by Comey.

The outcome of Comey’s briefing about the Steele dossier was the exact opposite of Comey’s subsequent self-serving explanation. The information that Trump had been briefed on the Steele Dossier was immediately leaked to the press, which had long been aware of the questionable and unverifiable dossier but thus far resisted the temptation to publish it. (Some details from the Steele Dossier had been previously published, they provide an interesting tracer on previous leaks – a topic that I’ll discuss on another occasion.)

CNN broke the news that intel chiefs had “presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him” – using the leaked information about the contents of Comey’s briefing to Trump as a hook to notify the public about the existence of the dossier. CNN, having thrown the bait into the water, sanctimoniously refrained from publishing the Steele Dossier itself as unverified. Once CNN wedged the news, the dossier story went viral. Within an hour, Buzzfeed published the controversial Steele Dossier itself. Once it was in the sunlight, secondary parties named in the dossier (Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, one-time Trump campaigner Carter Page, Webzilla) were able to challenge fabrications in the Steele Dossier, which had seemingly gone undetected during months of investigation by the FBI, CIA and other agencies.  (The allegation of Putin’s “direct” involvement originated in the Steele Dossier. Although the intel agencies gild the accusation in secret “sources and methods”, it appears highly possible and even probable that there is no evidence for this allegation other than the Steele Dossier.)

Trump was (quite reasonably, in my opinion) livid that details of Comey’s briefing to him had been leaked. These concerns were a major issue in his next meeting with Comey – a narrative that I’ll discuss on another occasion.

Comey at the House Intelligence Committee, March 20

Skipping forward, Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee. One of the major points of interest in this meeting was the January 6 briefing. Rep. King, who, like Trump, was both frustrated and concerned with leaks from the intel community, focussed in on the CNN leak because it concerned a classified briefing and, unlike most other leaks, only a very small number of people were involved. King (reasonably) thought that these considerations would make it relatively easy to track down the leaker.  King’s exchange with Comey is fascinating to re-read, knowing, as we do now, that the briefing on the Steele Dossier had been done by Comey himself one-on-one with Trump.

King asked Comey about the leak to CNN as follows:

Do you — does that violate any law? I mean you were at a classified briefing with the president-elect of the United States and it had to be a very, very small universe of people who knew that you handed them that dossier and it was leaked out within hours. Are you making any effort to find out who leaked it and do you believe that constitute a criminal violation?

Comey responded that “any unauthorized disclosure of classified conversations or documents” was very serious and that such incidents “should be investigated aggressively and if possible, prosecuted”:

COMEY: I can’t say, Mr. King except I can answer in general.

KING: Yes.

COMEY: Any unauthorized disclosure of classified conversations or documents is potentially a violation of law and a serious, serious problem. I’ve spent most of my career trying to figure out unauthorized disclosures and where they came from. It’s very, very hard.

Often times, it doesn’t come from the people who actually know the secrets. It comes from one hop out, people who heard about it or were told about it. And that’s the reason so much information that reports to be accurate classified information is actually wrong in the media. Because the people who heard about it didn’t hear about it right. But, it is an enormous problem whenever you find information that is actually classified in the media. We don’t talk about it because we don’t wanna confirm it, but I do think it should be investigated aggressively and if possible, prosecuted so people take as a lesson, this is not OK. This behavior can be deterred and its deterred by locking some people up who have engaged in criminal activity.

King then attempted to draw out from Comey who was “in the room”. King presumed that Comey, Clapper, Brennan and Rogers were “in the room” and wondered if there were any others:

KING: Well, could you say it was — obviously, Admiral Rogers was in the room, you were in the room, General Clapper was in the room and Director Brennan was in the room. Were there any other people in the room that could’ve leaked that out?

I mean this isn’t a report that was circulated among 20 people. This is an unmasking of names where you may have 20 people in the NSA and a hundred people in the FBI, its not putting together a report or the intelligence agency. This is four people in a room with the president-elect of the United States. And I don’t know who else was in that room and that was leaked out, it seemed within minutes or hours, of you handing him that dossier and it was so confidential, if you read the media reports that you actually handed it to him separately.

So believe me, I’m not saying it was you. I’m just saying, it’s a small universe of people that would’ve known about that. And if it is a disclosure of classified information, if you’re going to start with investigating the leaks, to me that would be one place where you could really start to narrow it down.

Comey (the only person “in the room”) refused to answer on the grounds that he did not want to confirm any details of “a classified conversation with a president or president-elect”:

COMEY: And again, Mr. King, I can’t comment because I do not ever wanna confirm a classified conversation with a president or president-elect. I can tell you my general experience. It often turns out, there are more people who know about something you expected. At first, both because there may be more people involved in the thing than you realized, not — not this particular, but in general. And more people have been told about it or heard about it or staff have been briefed on it. And those echoes are in my experience, what most often ends up being shared with reporters.

King persisted:

KING: Well, could you tell us who else was in the room that day?

COMEY: I’m sorry?

KING: Could you tell us who else was in the room with you that day?

But Comey would not be drawn in:

COMEY: No, because I’m not going to confirm that there was such a conversation because then, I might accidentally confirm something that was in the newspaper.

King then tried to find out whether there had even been a conversation about the Steele Dossier:

KING: But could you tell us who was in the room, whether or not there was a conversation?

Comey refused to even confirm that there was a “conversation” in an unclassified setting (while allowing that he might be more forthcoming in a “classified setting”):

COMEY: No, I’m not confirming there was a conversation. In a classified setting, I might be able to share more with you, but I’m not going to confirm any conversations with either President Obama or President Trump or when President Trump was the President-elect.

King then tried to get Comey to say “who was in the room for the briefing”:

KING: Well, not the conversation or even the fact that you gave it to him, but can you — can you tell us who was in the room for that briefing that you gave?

COMEY: That you’re saying later ended up in the newspaper?

KING: Yes.

Comey again refused, citing the classified setting of the event

COMEY: So my talking about who was in the room would be a confirmation that was in the newspaper was classified information, I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to help people who did something that — that is unauthorized.

King then tried to elicit a comment on whether the four directors had gone to Trump Tower, with Comey still being coy but using the event as an example of protecting classified information:

KING: Yeah, but we all know that the four of you went to Trump Tower for the briefing, I mean that’s not classified, is it?

COMEY: How do we all know that, though?

KING: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

COMEY: Yeah.

KING: You know, you can — you see the predicament we’re in, here.

COMEY: I get it. I get it. But we are duty-bound to protect classified information, both in the first when we get it, and then to make sure we don’t accidentally jeopardize classified information by what we say about something that appears in the media.

Comey’s Written Evidence, June 5

After refusing to answer questions from the House Intel Committee on the January 6 meeting on the grounds that such details were classified, Comey, supposedly drawing on a contemporary memo on the meeting (which does not appear to have been filed in the FBI document system), provided numerous details on the classified meeting in his written evidence on June 5:

 I first met then-President-Elect Trump on Friday, January 6 in a conference room at Trump Tower in New York. I was there with other Intelligence Community (IC) leaders to brief him and his new national security team on the findings of an IC assessment concerning Russian efforts to interfere in the election. At the conclusion of that briefing, I remained alone with the President-Elect to brief him on some personally sensitive aspects of the information assembled during the assessment.

The IC leadership thought it important, for a variety of reasons, to alert the incoming President to the existence of this material, even though it was salacious and unverified. Among those reasons were: (1) we knew the media was about to publicly report the material and we believed the IC should not keep knowledge of the material and its imminent release from the President- Elect; and (2) to the extent there was some effort to compromise an incoming President, we could blunt any such effort with a defensive briefing.

The Director of National Intelligence asked that I personally do this portion of the briefing because I was staying in my position and because the material implicated the FBI’s counter- intelligence responsibilities. We also agreed I would do it alone to minimize potential embarrassment to the President-Elect. Although we agreed it made sense for me to do the briefing, the FBI’s leadership and I were concerned that the briefing might create a situation where a new President came into office uncertain about whether the FBI was conducting a counter-intelligence investigation of his personal conduct.

It is important to understand that FBI counter-intelligence investigations are different than the more-commonly known criminal investigative work. The Bureau’s goal in a counter-intelligence investigation is to understand the technical and human methods that hostile foreign powers are using to influence the United States or to steal our secrets. The FBI uses that understanding to disrupt those efforts. Sometimes disruption takes the form of alerting a person who is targeted for recruitment or influence by the foreign power. Sometimes it involves hardening a computer system that is being attacked. Sometimes it involves “turning” the recruited person into a double-agent, or publicly calling out the behavior with sanctions or expulsions of embassy-based intelligence officers. On occasion, criminal prosecution is used to disrupt intelligence activities.

Because the nature of the hostile foreign nation is well known, counterintelligence investigations tend to be centered on individuals the FBI suspects to be witting or unwitting agents of that foreign power. When the FBI develops reason to believe an American has been targeted for recruitment by a foreign power or is covertly acting as an agent of the foreign power, the FBI will “open an investigation” on that American and use legal authorities to try to learn more about the nature of any relationship with the foreign power so it can be disrupted. In that context, prior to the January 6 meeting, I discussed with the FBI’s leadership team whether I should be prepared to assure President-Elect Trump that we were not investigating him personally. That was true; we did not have an open counter-intelligence case on him. We agreed I should do so if circumstances warranted. During our one-on-one meeting at Trump Tower, based on President-Elect Trump’s reaction to the briefing and without him directly asking the question, I offered that assurance.

Had Rep King known these details on March 20 – in particular, that Comey was the only person present in the briefing to Trump on the Steele Dossier, it is evident that his questioning on the CNN leak would have gone in a very different direction. But Comey withheld that information from him.

Conclusion

Comeys defenders have argued that the content of the memoranda was classified “retroactively”, thus supposedly rebutting any fault on Comey’s part or, alternatively, that Comey wrote his memoranda so that no classified material was included.

However, neither applies to the January 6 meeting (and perhaps others). The January 6 meeting is easier because of Comey’s own evidence. In his evidence to the House Intel Committee, Comey unequivocally stated that any and all details about the January 6 meeting were “classified” and used this as an excuse to refuse to answer questions on the meeting, thereby concealing his unique role in the briefing from the committee.  Having taken this position before the Committee, Comey is on the horns of a dilemma: either the details were classified (as he told the Committee) or he lied to the Committee.  Neither explanation is to Comey’s credit.

 


417 Comments

  1. mrmethane
    Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 5:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In “Conclusion” did you mean COMEY’s defenders…?

  2. Follow the Money
    Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 5:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Seems like the best bet for the leak that Comey handed Trump the “dossier” is Comey himself.

    “_________defenders have argued that the content of the memoranda was classified “retroactively””

    Isn’t that more of a hopeful fantasy for them, that some authority deemed it, with a big stamp or something, “CLASSIFIED” later? The conversation was confidential by its nature. The more likely best answer is Comey decides on what is “classified” or not on his say so, like his say so saying Hillary Clinton could not be charged with a crime, and like his say so that he announcing this publicly was also appropriate.

  3. mpainter
    Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 6:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Everyone seems to have forgotten about McCabe, the #2 man at the FBI. He is a likely leaker, being a partisan Democrat. I wonder if the story will ever emerge. I think Trump was a fool to allow control of the investigation out of his hands. I do not trust Mueller, who might decide not to rake out the muck from his beloved FBI. Trump needs to have his man in this business, or it could get very nasty for him.

    Did Comey deliberately set up Trump? I think so. Comey has his own liabilities in all of this. I think Comey has played politics the whole way. By the way, the FBI is not “independent” of anyone. It answers to the executive, just as any government department.

    • Duker
      Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 7:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The FBI doesnt ‘answer to the executive’ at all. The head of the FBI answers to the head of the Department of Justice. The President can certainly hire and fire, via the DOJ, the head of the FBI, but thats as far as they can go. Its certainly not like he can talk about active investigations and whether they should stop or continue.

      • mpainter
        Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 8:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Yes, the whole of government is accountable to the President. The myth that it is not is just that, a myth. And the President can intervene in any justice Department matter, even to the point of ordering the FBI to investigate, or not.

        • Duster
          Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

          The principle of separation of powers operates because the DoJ is in part very directly involved with the courts. Any interference by the president with the DoJ can be construed as a violation of separation. The DoJ’s primary responsibility is to the justice system (courts). The president hire the FBI director and propose or toss the Secretary, but he has neither responsibility nor the right to actively or passively interfere in an investigation that is looking into violation of any statute.

          Comey is an old Washington hand. He would have been immediately aware of the problematic position that president’s “insider” approach to governance placed him (Comey) in. To Comey the demand for loyalty would have also been an unequivocal demand that he back off the Flynn investigation. Since Comey already knew that he very likely decided the election in Trump’s favor by his (Comey’s) handling of the email fiasco, he would have been aware that his position was increasingly precarious.

          Unless Trumps leads a revolution to over throw the Constitution, he is gone in 8 years and if history is a guide, the likely orientation will have swung back to a socialist stance as aging people discover just how idiotic it was to throw out their health care among other things. These new “leaders” will in all likelihood be in a very vindictive mood and Comey among others would be a target for retribution over the Trump election. His options are to be a “good soldier” and fall on his sword, or to ensure that his position is at least equivocal. Trump handed him the perfect cards to do this.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

          Horsegrunt, Duster.

        • Duker
          Posted Jul 13, 2017 at 12:01 AM | Permalink

          The President would running into dangerous ground for obstruction of justice if he tried to interfere in an individual case.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 13, 2017 at 1:04 AM | Permalink

          Try not to confuse constitutional power with what might be political expediency. Presidential pardons are unimpeachable. The president may issue any order to the DoJ, and stop or start any investigation. To say such an act is politically inexpedient does not mean it is unconstitutional.

        • TAG
          Posted Jul 15, 2017 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

          Try not to confuse constitutional power with what might be political expediency. Presidential pardons are unimpeachable. The president may issue any order to the DoJ, and stop or start any investigation. To say such an act is politically inexpedient does not mean it is unconstitutional.

          Nixon indirectly fired Archibald Cox, He had the constitutional power to do it. The Saturday Night Massacre doomed his presidency. The American public ruled on the validity of this act.

          That a president has the constitutional power to do something does not mean that he has the power to do something.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 16, 2017 at 3:22 AM | Permalink

          “That a president has the constitutional power to do something does not mean that he has the power to do something.”

          TAG is back.

        • Frank
          Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 12:22 AM | Permalink

          mpainter: We have a system of checks-and-balances. The president is not ABOVE federal law, but he is in charge of administering federal law. He can stop investigations, fire the head of the FBI or a special prosecutor, or pardon anyone except himself. However, his power to do these things is checked by Congress’s right to impeach him for placing himself above the law by means of these actions! And Congress doesn’t have to “convict” the president of a specific charge such as “obstruction of justice”. They can remove him from office for ANY action they feel has placed the president above the law*.

          And the power of Congress to impeach is checked by the voters. In November 2018, every House member and 1/3 of the Senate will stand for re-election and be forced to justify to voters why they voted to overturn the results of the 2016 election. Trump supporters are certain to take revenge against any Congressional Republican who votes against Trump in an impeachment proceeding. Many will lose their seats.

          *This is what Watergate was all about – whether the President’s executive authority placed him above or outside the law. The President asked the CIA to interfere with the FBI’s investigation, because he didn’t want rumors about that investigation interfering with his ability to govern the country (and in particular with his ability to negotiate an end to the Vietnam War). He refused to pardon any of the Watergate burglars in return for silence (quid pro quo), but agreed to raise money to cover their legal expenses and support their families while they were in jail. The President believed the massive breakdown in order on college campuses required him to discredit motivations of his opponents – like the criminal who leaked the Pentagon Papers and was being treated as a hero.

        • DonM
          Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

          A particular executive power is prosecutorial disgression. It has been reviewed by the SCOTUS and is OK. It is what President Obama used to implement certain aspects of DACA. No doubt a Trump lawyer would caste the Trump – Comey discussion pertaining to Flynn as a discussion about prosecutorial disgression. In terms of Trump asking for loyalty, the two agreed upon “Honest Loyalty” according to Comey. Trump denied both the Flynn and Loyalty discussions occurred at least as Comey relayed. Some say a request for Loyalty would subsume the FBI to a Presidential protection unit, and it violates the Presidents oath of office, and thus is impeachable. But a request for loyalty or as the purportedly agreed Honest Loyalty could well be loyalty to the Office of President. As such to not act deceitfully and not be part of fraudulent conspiracy working against the President.

      • MikeN
        Posted Jul 14, 2017 at 1:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Head of FBI reports to #2 at DOJ.

  4. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 8:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Some of this reporting seems easier to understand if one can assume that Comey was wired when meeting with Trump.
    I have not seem Comey being asked if he was wired. It is hard to believe that anyone could leave such a high pressure meeting, then record it, to the extent of including verbatim pieces.
    So it would be an interesting test of Comey’s intention to ask if he was wired.
    ……..
    Hope you are keeping well, Steve. Geoff

  5. Gerald Browning
    Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 8:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    IMHO I think you should keep politics (nonscientfic) out of your blog and keep to its original intent, i.e., climate audit.

    Jerry

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 11:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Steve seems to be interested in auditing Truth twisting by mainstream groups whether in science, sports or politics etc. He had a number of articles on (American football) Deflategate in 2015 here.

  6. mesocyclone
    Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 9:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Typo – I think you mean “Comey’s defenders” not “Trump’s defenders.” 2nd to last paragraph.
    Steve: fixed

  7. Eric Barnes
    Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 10:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the detailed write up Steve. Reading MSM articles about Trump/Comey/the Russians is like a giant “Where’s Waldo” without Waldo.

  8. Matt Skaggs
    Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 11:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This is like a caricature of the work previously published here, strongly slanted and full of ridiculous claims. I’m hoping this is a hack and will be disavowed soon.

    • Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

      For those who are upset about a political post, just ignore it. No one is forcing you to delve into these issues. The title sets out the content. For anyone claiming that the post is “strongly slanted and full of ridiculous claims.” Please elucidate or apologize.

  9. AntonyIndia
    Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 11:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Why trust James Clapper after he “forgot about the Patriot Act” while lying under oath before Congress on March 12, 2013?

  10. AntonyIndia
    Posted Jul 11, 2017 at 11:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The NSA comes out as pretty useless: apart from missing numerous terror plots in the West they let Hillary Clinton use a home server for US State matters and can’t find any clear evidence for Russian manipulation of US elections. A weak act, but totally ignored in Western MSN.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 12:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

      FBI and others might be included there as they are supposed to be “all for one now” as Homeland Security.

  11. AndyL
    Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 1:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    This post saddens me.

    I have enjoyed ClimateAudit for many years, particularly in the times before ClimateGate when the focus was on analysis of scientific papers.

    Now, out of all the things that Steve could have focussed his forensic analysis on, he is highlighting one tiny nit in the story, miles away from the bigger issues that could and should be looked into.

    It makes me wonder: Why this particular issue? Is this what Steve has been doing all along?

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 1:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Your post saddens me: suggesting that Steve was plotting to highlight an aspect in the witch hunt for unexpected elected US President Trump, ever since … 2005.
      This IS a big issue and there are vital peas hidden under it.

      • AndyL
        Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 2:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

        For sake of clarity, I was asking if Steve was just picking at nits all along.

        In the past, Steve was able to highlight what appeared to be important items and the sheer volume of things he dug up was impressive in its own right. The issue of who leaked what when, and whether someone was entirely open about it are second or even third order issues.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 2:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I am still waiting for evidence that Russian operatives hacked the DNC computer. I’ve seen none yet. The whole Russian affair comes across as swill for Trump haters. The last that’s been poured into the trough is the thinnest yet, and the most dubious.

  12. AntonyIndia
    Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 3:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If Trump met Comey one-to-one on January 6th the President was the only person to know who leaked from there to CNN. No wonder he dismissed Comey on May 9th.

    • AndyL
      Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 3:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

      That’s a logical stretch too far
      Remember that it was only the fact of the briefing that was leaked, not the content.

      Many people would have known that Comey had briefed Trump about the dossier, even if they didn’t necessarily know the dossier contained. For instance the other people at the start of the meeting would have known the broad outline, plus others at the FBI plus anyone Trump told about it afterwards.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 3:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Notice how in CNN’s January 10th “revelation”: Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him there is serious effort to paint the meeting as between Trump plus 4 intelligence chiefs.
        http://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/10/politics/donald-trump-intelligence-report-russia/index.html
        The whole Steele dossier was published a few hours later by Buzzfeed: convenient for CNN. http://money.cnn.com/2017/01/10/media/buzzfeed-trump-report/

      • mpainter
        Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 3:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Comey is a self-confessed leaker, and now it is clear that his leaks were criminal. See Steve’s post above. Please don’t play us for stupid. It is clear that Comey has maneuvered against Trump from the first.

        Comey announced the renewed investigation of Hillary last October 28 in self defense, as he had learned that Trump knew that the FBI was sitting on the new evidence. Comey wished to forestall Trump’s move, which would have been devastating for Comey. Trump learned of the emails from the NYCPD, which had been involved in the investigation of what’s his name. Giuliani was the conduit of Trump’s information. Trump would have blasted Comey and Hillary sky high by this revelation, but Comey was too quick for him. Then Comey cleared Hillary again, the Sunday night before the election. This will all come out in the Mueller investigation, if Mueller does his job. _IF_.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

          And by publicly “clearing” Hillary, on the eve of the election, Comey once again meddled in the election, as when he had previously usurped the role of the AG in declaring that there was no basis for a prosecution of Hillary. Comey has given his justification for that usurpation, which justification rings hollow. I think Comey will be regretful of his meddling.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

          And more, because Comey was not justified in his announcement of the renewed investigation of Hillary, as that explicitly violated FBI protocol, to never acknowledge such investigations until these are complete. Once again, Comey’s justification rang hollow: his letter to Congress when it was in recess for the election. But Comey would have been blown sky high by Trump’s revelation, and he was forced to act out of self preservation. Comey is trapped, if Mueller does his job.

        • Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

          I had previously thought that Comey, in trying to do the right thing, had seemed to have been walking a tightrope, verbally indicting Hillary, without indicting, but letting the public kinda know and let them decide. That all changed on May 2nd.

          May 2nd, Hillary says Comey cost her the election.

          May 2nd Nate Silver publishes an article statistically demonstrating she’s right

          May 3rd. Comey testifies that it “makes him nauseous” that he might have affected the outcome of the election.

          Narrative planned, executed, and delivered.

          This is why Trump fired him, or to be more accurate, this is the proof that put the idea that he really was a Democratic operative over the top.

          This just shows that his behavior that kept Hillary from being prosecuted wasn’t some ethical high ground walking through a political field of land mines. He intended to keep her safe from prosecution. The only reason he had to go public on 10/28 was that he had promised Congress he would come forward immediately if new evidence arrived and likely a revolt among the ranks that if he didn’t they would.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 13, 2017 at 1:18 AM | Permalink

          No, Charles, Comey gave a b.s. justification. Why should we believe him? See my comment above concerning 10/28.

        • Eric Barnes
          Posted Jul 14, 2017 at 7:58 AM | Permalink

          Thanks mpainter. That explanation of events makes a lot of sense given the strange sequence of events the week before the election.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 14, 2017 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

          Thursday evening,October 27, in a Fox News interview, Giuliani let slip that a “big surprise” was due soon and later hinted that “we have a thing or two up our sleeve”. These hints seemed to have alerted Comey who the next day announced the renewed investigation of Hillary. His justification for this improper announcement? That he had to explain it to Congress, whom he had sent a letter. But congress had been recessed for the election. So much for Comey, who also offered the justification that there might have been leaks if he failed to announce the renewed investigation. The Giuliani interview may be still viewed.

          So Comey very quickly reacted when he understood that Trump knew about his stalling. I would guess that he had his reaction planned as a contingency. He had known about the new evidence since the first week of October, but had yet to seek a court dispensation to examine the emails.

  13. Joe
    Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 2:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    A broader point in the Comey quagmire –
    Without trying to condemn or defend Comey – He was placed in the impossible position – a major political party nominee for president with serious criminal violations (Yes intent was obvious), with instructions from DOJ (implied instructions at minimum) along with likely instructions from the top to not investigate thoroughly, and to not recomend indicting.

    Did he have any good choices
    The honorable step would have been to resign – with full explanation of reason

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 3:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It was not Comey’s place to recommend for or against indictment, publicly. If his opinion had been sought, he should have provided it in writing to the AG. If his opinion had not been sought, he should have maintained a closed mouth. Trump was right, Comey is a showboater. Comey is to blame for his predicament. No one forced him to intervene in the election and he did so thrice. And now he is hung by his own congressional testimony. I question his judgment.

      Can you imagine Comey’s thoughts when the election returns came in? No one was better aware of his culpability than Comey himself. There is no question that he used the Steele dossier to intentionally discredit Trump. I think he must have known it was invention and contrived for partisan political purposes. Comey, the swamp creature.

      • Joe
        Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 3:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I concur with most of your comments – his post election behaviour definitely warrants termination (regardless of which side of the political spectrum you sit on).

        Pre – election – I am not going to defend or condemn his behaviour – Who ever was the director of the FBI at that time was getting Screwed – An individual with a known history of bribery,( uranium one deal for example), known history of security violations, etc, the nominee of a major political party, A DOJ and WH who was thrawting the investigation, etc. Going public was the wrong thing to do – but anything he did was going to be the wrong thing.
        FWIW – even if Hillary was indicted, she was never going to be convicted. Virtually impossible to seat a jury that would not have included a high percent of hillary voters (eastern district of virginia)

      • Posted Jul 13, 2017 at 3:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

        One thing that I note in all of this is that the AG, herself, was compromised. Comey should have resigned, if integrity was a prime motive. Comey gave us a tell by noting that no reasonable prosecutor would have asked for prosecution. That raised, to me, the question, “Why not?” and one answer is politics.

        Now about this and the Climate Audit thing, well, that field is rife with politics. These posts fit, in my opinion.

    • Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 3:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Or Comey could have done the right thing and convened a Grand Jury and pursued an indictment, forcing the “top” to either fire him or succumb to the rule of law. Instead he tried to muddle through. It’s interesting and significant that he took carriage of the case upon himself. As the head of his agency I’m guessing that never really happens. Nor should it. Clearly he did not trust his officers to use the appropriate political discretion. A matter that should have been handled on legal principles ended up being dealt with politically and the legalities were perverted to accommodate the politics. By that I refer to his invention of intent as a necessary factor in a crime that specifically denies that intent is required. Also there seemed to be ample evidence of intent which he blindly ignored. He was blinded by the politics of it all. He behaved, and continues to behave like a driver in a full fishtail slide down a gravel road, madly overcorrecting each time the car swings from one side of the road to the other. The car and driver will inevitably end up in the ditch and that’s where Comey is headed now. Or you could use the metaphor of a tangled web, but that’s been done to death.

      • Joe
        Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 4:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Tom – you probably have the better solution – convene a grand jury (likley contrary to implied or implicit instructions from DOJ or the WH). Though, hard to see how that would of worked given the active obstruction from DOJ on the imunity deals with witnesses.

        I have a slight disagreement with you on intent – first I believe the element of intent should be required in most criminal statutes (res mens ? apologies for incorrect legal term, That is my constitutional law concern, but a topic for another thread.
        Second – in this case, in my opinion, criminal intent was obvious, simply creating an unsecure server / email system showing intent – hard to make a credible argument that she had the brain power to be president , but lacked the brain power to know that violating security was not okay.

      • mpainter
        Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 4:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

        In Washington,I imagine that much is accomplished by a sort of soft blackmail, or graymail, if you please. You avoid injury to those who know things that you wish that they did not. Or who can otherwise cause you pain and discomfort. Or, maybe money laundering. The possibility of a lucrative investment at at steal. And so on. Comey’s behavior in the Clinton case was surpassing strange, as if he never considered that he could be called to account for something very much like a malfeasance, or misprision of felony. I do hope the whole story comes out, the meeting in the plane on the tarmac, the email with the goods on Lynch, the whole scene. Everything depends on Mueller.

      • MikeN
        Posted Jul 14, 2017 at 1:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I don’t think the FBI can convene a grand jury on its own.

        • MikeN
          Posted Jul 14, 2017 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

          This was the reason for the special deals with Cheryl Mills for handing over materials. If they had gotten them with a subpoena, they would have needed to impanel a grand jury, destroying the talking point that Hillary is not under investigation.

        • Drake
          Posted Jul 17, 2017 at 10:54 PM | Permalink

          The AG convenes the Grand Jury. A little into the weeds. NY FBI agents took the Hillary stuff to the AG for the Eastern District (where Lynch came from) to get to a Grand Jury. They were turned down. They then wanted to go to another, less obstructive, AG/District (Southern district in Manhattan I think) but were shut down by Andrew McCabe for “prosecutor shopping: Do a search of his wife Jill and Terry McAuliffe (old Clinton crony) and $600,000.00+ in campaign contributions. Having McCabe anywhere in the FBI at this time is unbelievable to me, unless Trump is going Godfather on us: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” After all of this, when the Weiner stuff showed, if nothing came out there would be a revolt in the NY FBI office. I believe the NY police had Weiner’s laptop first, I have seen on line that they have a copy of the HD, so an earlier comment regarding Giuliani is probably right, someone would have told him.

    • Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 11:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

      see my comment above.

  14. Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 6:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    One thing that jumps out to me is Comey’s references to “classified conversations”. This is a perfect illustration of the idiocy of the media and Democrats (but I repeat myself) argument about whether something was “marked” classified at the time, or whether it was so marked later.

    How exactly do you “mark” a conversation as being classified? Obviously you don’t. It is the information that is or is not classified, and the person in the government to whom secret information entrusted is also given the responsibility to know what information is classified and so not disclose it.

    • Duker
      Posted Jul 12, 2017 at 11:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The US has a funny system of having common knowledge things being classified.
      With Clinton she was sent an email regarding a documentary on Al Jazerra about secret Palestinian- Israeli negotiations in Qatar some years back. Even though it came from public sources it was later ‘marked classified’ as it was the minutes of the meetings.

      US drone strikes on countries like Pakistan is ‘classified’ even though public sources cover these things regularly. The reason, it would show the US is breaching the INF Treaty which bans ‘powered weapon systems’ that are medium range. Drones werent around at the time of the treaty, but the wording covers them.

      The US is such an open society compared to even UK, a lot of secrets get out but the government system still goes under the rules if that situation hadnt happened. In a nutshell that is why some things can ‘later become classified’

      • Steven Mosher
        Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 3:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

        That’s quite standard. Nothing strange about it at all. I’ve seen math equations classified top secret special access required. and no I wont tell what they are

    • Frank
      Posted Jul 20, 2017 at 1:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Jim T points out: One thing that jumps out to me is Comey’s references to “classified conversations”.

      It is possible that President Obama wanted President-Elect Trump properly briefed about the investigation into Russian interference in our election – before taking office on 1/20/17.
      To avoid the impression that Obama would trying to embarrass the President-elect, Obama could have ordered that the existence of the meeting be classified and never discussed publicly – unless Trump chooses to talk about it himself. Despite Obama’s intentions, news about the meeting immediately leaked by someone in his administration.

    • franktoo
      Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 7:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Jim T points out: One thing that jumps out to me is Comey’s references to “classified conversations”.

      It is possible that President Obama wanted President-Elect Trump properly briefed about the investigation into Russian interference in our election – before taking office on 1/20/17. To avoid the impression that Obama would trying to embarrass the President-elect, Obama could have ordered that the existence of the meeting be classified and never discussed publicly – unless Trump chose to talk about it himself. Despite Obama’s intentions, news about the meeting immediately leaked by someone in his administration.

  15. sbyrnes321
    Posted Jul 13, 2017 at 6:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry if I missed something, but I think there’s a more charitable interpretation here: (A) Comey is staying 1000 miles away from anything that might have the slightest chance of being classified while talking on live television, but (B) In a written statement (where he can double-check his words and consult classification guidelines and get a second opinion from lawyers), he finds that it’s OK for him to give way more details. If that’s what happened, it sounds pretty reasonable to me. Given that he did indeed offer to discuss more details in a classified setting, and that he indeed gave more details in writing, I don’t see him being weaselly here, but merely frightened about being in a situation where if he misspeaks one word (or mis-remembers any details about what is or isn’t classified) he’s committing a serious crime.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 13, 2017 at 8:02 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Have you seen the news? Comey handed over all seven of his “personal” memos to the Mueller investigation. Guess what, none of these could be considered personal as Comey had composed them as FBI documents. And four of these contained classified material. Some of these were released to the press by leaker Comey. Do you have a charitable explanation for that? The law is quite uncharitable. Comey has run out of leaks.

      • Ivan Jankovic
        Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 4:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

        “And four of these contained classified material. Some of these were released to the press by leaker Comey”

        Nope, only one was leaked to the media, and that oen was NOT classified (th eone covering loyalty oath dinner with Trump)

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

          “Unauthorized disclosure, misuse, or negligent handling of information contained in the files, electronic or paper, of the FBI or which I may acquire as an employee of the FBI could impair national security, place human life in jeopardy, result in the denial of due process, prevent the FBI from effectively discharging its responsibilities, or violate federal law,” states the agreement all FBI agents sign

          The FBI claims all the memos were FBI documents. In that case, Comey illegally took them with him when he left. Sit tight, the DoJ Inspector General will make a full report. Then you can argue with him.

        • Ivan Jankovic
          Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

          your Orange Mesiah will be in jail by then for treason.

          the memo that was leaked to the media was NOT classified. No escape. nobody ever even claimed it was.

        • Jeffrey Taylor
          Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

          Treason?
          Who are we at war with that Trump has provided aid and comfort to?

  16. AntonyIndia
    Posted Jul 13, 2017 at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Regarding this Steele “dossier”: In March 2009, Steele with his fellow MI6-retiree Chris Burrows co-founded the private intelligence agency Orbis Business Intelligence, Ltd.
    Half of the 35 pages were written 14 Sept. 2016 or later.
    End of August 2016 Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, sent a letter to the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey Jr., expressing concern that Russia was trying to influence the presidential election and requesting that the F.B.I. open an investigation.https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/29/us/politics/document-Reid-Letter-to-Comey.html
    This was the bundle: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html
    And this is the first public criticism of it on Jan. 11 2017: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3259984-Trump-Intelligence-Allegations.html

  17. AntonyIndia
    Posted Jul 13, 2017 at 8:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Here is a BBC time line on the Steele “report” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38612066
    and here the first public criticism: http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-vladimir-putin-russia-intelligence-dossier-hacking-541626
    Note that half of its 35 pages were written after Sept. 14 2016, so after Senate minority leader Harry Reid, sent a letter to the F.B.I. director James B. Comey Jr., expressing concern that Russia was trying to influence the presidential election and requesting that the F.B.I. open an investigation.https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/29/us/politics/document-Reid-Letter-to-Comey.html

  18. Posted Jul 14, 2017 at 2:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog.

  19. Posted Jul 14, 2017 at 9:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Comey is a corrupt Democrat operator. He usurped Attorney General Lynch’s authority to announce that Clinton would not be charged as a favor to Clinton (and Lynch). He believed if Lynch made the announcement it would not be credible, and he knew the announcement had to be made far enough before the election for Clinton to try to spin it in her favor and for the low information electorate to forget about it. High information voters saw that Comey’s conclusion did not comport to the facts or Comey’s own reasoning. Comey’s lengthy delay in disclosing the new e-mails on Weiner’s device, and his miraculously rapid supposed clearance of those e-mails after his announcement, further demonstrate Comey’s corruption (and stupidity — how did he think he could get away with it?).

  20. GaryW
    Posted Jul 15, 2017 at 9:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m really surprised that no one seems to be presenting the idea that Comey’s actions just prior to the election were DESIGNED to damage Clinton’s elect-ability. Secret Service and FBI folks who worked with and protected her during the campaign learned first hand that she was not mentally fit for the position of President of the U.S.A. He surely knew that his revelation of the continued investigation just prior to the election would be falling on his sword should she be elected.

    • pottereaton
      Posted Jul 22, 2017 at 1:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

      @ pteronarcyid: I don’t think Comey is a “corrupt Democrat operator.” He doesn’t need a party affiliation to be representing the best interests of the Washington elite. He’s registered as a Republican. He is a guardian of the establishment. His press conference absolving Clinton of crimes she clearly committed was an attempt to make himself a hero to the permanent elite and its permanent bureaucracy. The Barbarian Trump was at the gate. A proper indictment of Clinton would have very likely have meant a Trump victory in November given that Clinton had secured the nomination and the only logical choice to replace her would have been Sanders, who was not even a Democrat and would surely have lost to Trump. The fear of a Trump presidency at the time was palpable. The Obama Administration took what they believed were the necessary steps to prevent that.

      It would be difficult to prove, but I think it likely Lynch and Obama were BEHIND the spectacle of Comey coming out and making the statement that no prosecutor would have brought charges against Clinton and he was not going to recommend any. I think they understood that after Lynch got caught meeting Bill Clinton on the tarmac in Arizona the week before that Obama’s DoJ had no credibility. They NEEDED Comey to come to the rescue. Good soldier for the establishment that he was, he bent the rules and tried to make it look perfectly natural that an FBI Director was playing Attorney General. It was a transparently political act not to indict Clinton. Any lesser creature in the political food chain would have been indicted for crimes against national security.

  21. Oldman
    Posted Jul 15, 2017 at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Comey was certain that Hillary would be elected president. That’s why he said no reasonable prosecutor would try her. If he said otherwise, and Hillary was president, he certainly (as all democrats wanted, prior to election) would be fired. Comey did what he did just to protect himself.

  22. TAG
    Posted Jul 15, 2017 at 9:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The Climategate emails were leaked.

    The Pentagon Papers were leaked

    The Panama Papers were leaked.

    The Liechtenstein tax affair documents were leaked.

    Podesta’s emails were leaked

    Trump loves Wikileaks

    Wikileaks aim is full transparency

    Therefore — Trump loves full transparency

    Trump loves leakers

  23. Ralph Reiter
    Posted Jul 15, 2017 at 11:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    As usual Steve’s post puts the focus on “where is the pea” in clinical objective way.

    But at the end of the day, What did the Big Showboat say to the little showboat?
    “You’re fired”.

  24. TAG
    Posted Jul 16, 2017 at 4:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Lost in this “leak” issue is the substance of the dispute between Trump and Comey. Comey testified a) that he thought Trump was attempting to establish a relationship between them and b) that Trump asked for a pledge of loyalty. if these assertions are true then Trump was attempting to politicize the administration of justice which is a very serious thing. It would be unconstitutional in that it violates Article 2 Clause 5 of the US constitution that the president “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” and the presidential oath of office

    • TAG
      Posted Jul 16, 2017 at 5:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

      For issue of the politicization of the administration of justice, this is the exchange in the Watergate Smoking Gun tape

      Haldeman: That the way to handle this now is for us to have Walters [CIA Director] call Pat Gray [FBI Director] and just say, “Stay the hell out of this…this is ah, business here we don’t want you to go any further on it.” [Watergate burglary investigation] That’s not an unusual development,…

      Nixon: Um huh.

      Haldeman: …and, uh, that would take care of it.

      [/blockquote>

      A single interjection for Nixon was all that it took. When he heard it, a Republican congressman on the impeachment committee rose from his desk and turned the Nixon photograph hanging in his office to the wall.

      Nixon had the constitutional power to order Walters to do it. That he did it violated the constitution and lead to his impeachment. This shows that all of Alan Dershowitz’s assertion of the constitutional powers of a president to fire an FBI director are entirely specious.

      • Posted Jul 16, 2017 at 9:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

        TAG, here is why Dershowitz is right and you are not. If the burglary was of the RNC rather than the DNC, for arguments sake because the President’s intelligence adviser had believed there was a mole, there would have been nothing wrong with a Republican president shutting down the investigation to protect outing of intelligence assets. The key is that the burglary’s purpose was to illegally spy on the opposing presidential campaign. All actions to cover up the crime are thus part of that conspiracy.

        By the way, if the purpose of the unmasking or Trump campaign officials was to spy on the Trump campaign under the guise of foreign intelligence gathering then it was highly illegal. It’d be simply the modern version of breaking in to bug the phones. Any covering up of that investigation by moving the records to the outgoing president’s library and keeping under seal would be an additional crime under the same conspiracy.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 16, 2017 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

          But the seal may be broken by Trump, according to the law. Yet Trump has not done so, unless he did without fanfare. My guess is that it is a matter of timing, and with all ducks in a row, the opposition will be subjected to a prolonged bombardment of colossal rockets. Everything in due order. My sense of this is that Watergate will be put in the shade.

        • TAG
          Posted Jul 16, 2017 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

          Ron Graf – We are saying the same thing. A president has the power to fire an FBI director but he does not have teh power to do something illegal. The Supreme Court has ruled that they do not have teh power to enjoin a president from exercising a constitutional power but they ahve the ability to respond after the fact.

          Dershowitz is at it again with the Russian emails controversy. He states that this is just like a newspaper publishing leaked information. He is correct but he is incorrect. A newspaper may publish leaked information but if they solicit the leak or participate in the leak, they can be found guilty of solicitation or conspiracy. So Dershowitz gets it wrong that there is no possibility of a crime being committed.

        • TAG
          Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

          In regard to the inability of a president to do something illegal even if he has the constitutional or legislative authority to do it. This is a quote from Wikipedia

          In Mississippi v. Johnson, 71 U.S. 475 (1867), the Supreme Court ruled that the judiciary may not restrain the President in the execution of laws. In that case the Supreme Court refused to entertain a request for an injunction preventing President Andrew Johnson from executing the Reconstruction Acts, which were claimed to be unconstitutional. The Court found that “[t]he Congress is the legislative department of the government; the President is the executive department. Neither can be restrained in its action by the judicial department; though the acts of both, when performed, are, in proper cases, subject to its cognizance.”[32] Thus, the courts cannot bar the passage of a law by Congress, though it may strike down such a law as unconstitutional. A similar construction applies to the executive branch.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

          TAG, illegal; unconstitutional

          These are two distinct terms with distinct meanings. Study the meanings and try to see how you have conflated them.

          If the president acts with constitutional authority it is constitutional by definition; if by legislative authority, it is legal by definition although the SC may subsequently declare such authority as unconstitutional. Hence an act may be legal although unconstitutional, but a constitutional act is illegal only through impeachment. An unconstitutional act is not necessarily illegal.

          Reflect on this and I’ll try to help if you need it.

  25. mpainter
    Posted Jul 16, 2017 at 6:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The big mystery is why Comey let himself be saddled with the onus of letting Hillary off the hook. Very strange, because he first presents, at length, the case against her, specifying how she had broken the law and then he recommends against prosecution. It’s as if he wanted the world to know that she was guilty but he knew that a politicized DoJ under O’bumma was not going to indict her. He made a big mistake, and he has compounded that mistake with further mistakes.

    Misprision of felony is concealment of a crime by an official. Comey did not conceal Hillary’s crime, but detailed it publicly. Will that save him? I think Comey imagines that he can wriggle out of his predicament.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 2:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I had forgot, but now I am reminded: The DoJ inspector General Michael Horowitz started an investigation into the whole DoJ FBI mess back in January, I believe. So all the facts should come out. Could be months, though.

      Comey is an enigma. He was a U.S. attorney under Bush 2001-003, then was moved to the DoJ as #2 man there. He left that position in 2005 to become General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Lockheed Martin, the big, somewhat rancid defense contractor. This is moving very far, very quickly. Bush influence, no doubt. The Bush crowd must have liked Comey a great deal. He was there five years. His last year,2010, he earned $6 MM, reportedly. Comey, the swamp creature, a favored protege of Bush & Co. So how did he wind up as a politicized FBI Director under Democrat O’bumma?

      There is something going on here. One thing that I have seen no comment on is the strange case of Robert Gates, long-time stalwart of the Bush crowd and protege of the senior George Bush.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 2:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Continued..

      And Gates was SecDefense under George Jr and then under O’bumma.
      Did you catch that? From Republican Bush to Democrat O’bumma, an unprecedented holdover. This bespeaks a deal. I have no doubt that Bush gave a boost to O’bumma in the 2008 election. What did Bush get? He got continued control of Halliburton KBR, a Houston based defense contractor (construction) even smellier than Lockheed. KBR goes back to the early days, LBJ & FDR, waaay back.

      I have long believed that there was some sort of connection between Bush and O’bumma, some community of interest. I am not surprised that BushCrowd Comey, registered Republican, was tapped by O’bumma as FBI Director.

      • Ivan Jankovic
        Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 4:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

        strange that the same Bob Gates, together with COndoleeza Rice is a big time Rosneft and Gazprom lawyer and that he lobbied successfully Trump to appoint Rex Tillerson, laureate of Medal of Friendship from Putin and Igor Sechin’s best buddy, to the position of Secretary of State?

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 3:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I know the BushCrowd very well, having studied them for years. They are quite capable of double dealings in politics, such as supporting O’bumma against Republican candidates, on the sly. This support is achieved mostly through their gigantic Houston based money laundering operation, run by an attorney. This is the same attorney who opened the Moscow office for a certain Houston law firm, in 1996. Through this Moscow office corporate $ is fed into investment instruments held by an administered estate under the control of this attorney. Absolutely fail safe. I have abbreviated all of this, of course. The whole tale will be told, soon, with Trump in the WH. There is a triad in this country: BushCrowd-ClintonCrowd-Bumma, but Bumma is really an orbiting satellite of the other two. This triad is using every fiber of their influence to topple Trump. I think Trump will win.

  26. Ivan Jankovic
    Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 4:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Although the Steele Dossier contained multiple fabrications,”

    What is the evidence for this? Can you give one example from Steele Dossier and explain how do you now that it is a “fabrication”?

    ‘“Kremlin-connected” lawyer, Natalia Veselniskaya,’

    Rob Goldstone in his email to Don Jr describes her as “Russian government attorney” and the data she had for Trump campaign as “a part of Russia and Russian governments’ efforts to help Mr Trump”. She herself in a TV interview said that she was coordinating her attacks on Bill Browder with Russian state prosecutor, a guy who is, shall we say, extremely Kremlin-connected. I hope you can correct your false description above, that implies that even a vague connection of Veselniskaya to the Kremlin is doubtful.

    “Although Comey later objected to Trump talking to him one-on-one without a DOJ minder present, it was Comey himself who initiated the practice.”

    Keep going. You are already past Judge Jeanine and Sean Hannity.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 5:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Then Natalia Veselnitskaya was not an agent provocateur allowed into the U.S. by Loretta Lynch and sicced on Trump for the purpose of creating a “collusion” narrative as substantiation for the inventions in the Steele dossier, all under the direction of Fusion GPS, as some news reports suggest?
      Tsk, tsk, one just doesn’t know what to believe.

      • Ivan Jankovic
        Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 7:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Dear God, Steve McUntyre on twiter, after defending Asssad and claiming he did not use chemical weapons, now claims DNC hacking was a “false flag”. Ruskie are not to blame, but false flag but the firm that identified Russians as culprits. Good grief. Crowd Strike probably also hacked German Bundestag, Estonian stockmarket and Macron’s campaign in France, because the same group did all four…

    • Steven Mosher
      Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 3:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

      http://www.newsweek.com/donald-trump-vladimir-putin-russia-intelligence-dossier-hacking-541626

      13 things that don’t add up in the document.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 6:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Typical moron. read this comment above https://climateaudit.org/2017/07/11/comeys-mishandling-of-classified-information/#comment-773203. use the links in this comment. click on the link. find the info. If you want to read the info that is.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

          But I don’t want to read it. No Dang contributions in R in gizmo. No Wang, either.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 8:17 AM | Permalink

          Moreover, 🙂

      • Ivan Jankovic
        Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 2:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

        No proof of “fabrication” whatsoever in the document. Just claims (that could be right or wrong) that some claims in the report do not “add up”.

        • Ivan Jankovic
          Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

          that’s not the usual standard on CA that I know – to claim things you cannot prove, whiel making obviously false or misleading statements. But hey, now we are in the lala land, where Assad did not gas his own people, Putin did not hack DNC to help Trump, I guess we can see some “serious questions” soon about whether Dick Cheney orchestrated 9-11…

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

          The truth will eventually come out. Steele is being sued in a London court concerning his dossier. In a filing with that court, Steele admits that he did not verify what he reported in the dossier. It will come to the point when Steele is forced to undergo a detailed interrogation concerning his role in that report and his sources. Steele was very foolish and Fusion gps, Bush co, Clinton Crowd, Comey, etc. will have to tell their tales because the same individual has filed another suit in Florida, this one against Buzzfeed, concerning that dossier. I forget his name, but the plaintiff in both of these suits was named as one of the “colluders”.

          So don’t go saying things that sound good to you now but will make you look foolish later.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

          And now, breaking news: Glenn Simpson, of Fusion GPS, will refuse the Senate subpoena and take the fifth, according to his attorney.

          Trump has them by the short hairs.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 12:15 AM | Permalink

          Fusion GPS might refuse to talk to a US senate committee, but they did talk to the WaPo: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2017/07/11/inside-the-link-between-the-russian-lawyer-who-met-donald-trump-jr-and-the-trump-dossier
          Present FBI MO (see CrowdStryke) would be: OK, that private firm denied, so that settles it.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 12:59 AM | Permalink

          I doubt that Simmons has committed any crime. There has been no suggestions of such. I imagine that Simmons wants very badly not to reveal his sources of funding.
          I think that is going to be the big fight in this matter, that is, the revelation of specifics on Fusion GPS funding in connection with the Steele dossier.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

          Pleading the Fifth seems to be quite popular amongst the Clinton crowd support:
          Private Clinton server company Platte River Networks (Paul Combetta’s) did that on September 16th 2016 while technician Bryan Pagliano did the same September ~22nd 2016 http://www.denverpost.com/2017/04/27/platte-river-network-ceo-justice-department/
          http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/sep/22/bryan-pagliano-no-show-house-investigators-vote-ho/

  27. Ivan Jankovic
    Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 7:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “Then Natalia Veselnitskaya was not an agent provocateur allowed into the U.S. by Loretta Lynch and sicced on Trump for the purpose of creating a “collusion” narrative as substantiation for the inventions in the Steele dossier, all under the direction of Fusion GPS, as some news reports suggest?
    Tsk, tsk, one just doesn’t know what to believe.”

    Yes, one could be confused indeed, if one is conditioned to believe the fellow-fruitcakes such as Hannity and Judge Jeanine, instead of his own eyes and direct evidence of collusion provided by conspirators themselves, in writing.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 7:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Fine, you stick to CNN, stay away from CA.

    • Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 8:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Ivan, I suppose the promise of recovering HRC deleted emails from a connected Russian government contact would’ve made a perfect honey trap for the Trump campaign political neophytes, like Don Jr. But I also suppose that if I was an opponent of Trump, like Loretta Lynch, and had a nefarious streak, or Obama WH actively surveilling Trump via the NSA, I might have allowed Natalia Veselnitskaya to walk right in, given her whatever entry waivers she needed without a visa and just kept a real close eye on her, (better than was kept on the guns walked in Operation Fast and Furious). If we find there was such surveillance then Trump Jr. was an innocent kid in the woods compared to his Obama & company.

      But I’m sure you feel Lynch and Obama never offered or allowed a smidgen of coruption. And I readily admit we may never know.

      • Jeffrey Taylor
        Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 9:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

        If you ever talked to someone who was exposed to this world you would come to the conclusion that any scenario is plausible. After that, investigation results could be either true or false.
        This back and forth becomes pointless until we get to court (if those details can even be exposed in court).

  28. DonM
    Posted Jul 18, 2017 at 10:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    “The Steele Dossier, paid for by a still unidentified “Democratic donor”, had been produced by a DC opposition research firm (Fusion GPS) directly connected with the “Kremlin-connected” lawyer, Natalia Veselniskaya…. Although the Steele Dossier contained multiple fabrications, its lurid allegations were taken very seriously by both the CIA and FBI, which… had been investigating them for months.”.

    Two comments; I wonder whether Steele was engaged because he was considered a credible source by the FBI as a result of work done for them on the FIFA case which had a heavy Russian connection. That Steele would funnel the reports as they came in to the FBI may have been intentional.

    There is the string where you have Democrat donor engaging Fusion GPS, who engage Orbis (Steele) who reaches out to Russian contacts. I read an analysis of the Dossier which said it was most likely written by a Russian National familiar with proper KGB (now FSB) reporting style. Last name in all caps, grammatical markers etc. The content, seems to suggest it was Russian Intelligence feeding Steele’s channels into Russia’s most secret circles and Intelligence services.

    A couple of points are revealing. The last report pertaining to Michael Cohen proves it was not simply inaccurate since Michael Cohen was proved to be in the US when the Dossier had him in Prague. It proves it was an after the fact combing of travel documents that did identify a Michael Cohen (remarkably with the same birth date) in Prague. But it was a different Michael Cohen without question. The Dossier also identifies a hacker, who infact is a person with the skills to do it. It says coersion was used, but the individual was in a Russian prison as a child predator. What type of organization would have access to that level of detail.

    The errors on Cohen prove it was a calculated effort to deceive. The cited source on Cohen was responsible for numerous other reports as well.

    Above it says it was produced by Fusion GPS, obtained may be more accurate. It seems most plausible that it was produced by a Russian Intelligence source as disinformation to discredit the Trump candidacy, and sow wedges in the us political environment.

    It was the basis for the FBI Russia Collusion investigation, and was used for Fisa warrants on Carter Page. There can be no argument that it has been detrimental to Trump,’s Presidency.

    That the US IC thought that the Russian’s where trying to tilt the election to Trump is scary at how incredibly gullible they were. The creation of the Dossier suggests monumentally otherwise. Russian motives were to weaken whomever won the US election.

  29. Frank
    Posted Jul 19, 2017 at 3:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve: The CNN article you linked refers to a two-page synopsis of allegations about President Trump that were likely to become public. It says:

    “One reason the nation’s intelligence chiefs took the extraordinary step of including the synopsis in the briefing documents was to make the President-elect aware that such allegations involving him are circulating among intelligence agencies, senior members of Congress and other government officials in Washington, multiple sources tell CNN.”

    I respectfully submit that Mr. Comey almost certainly did not compose this synopsis by himself. The intelligence chiefs likely decided upon a final document by email, and probably discussed some aspects of it with subordinates to ensure accuracy and propriety. Given the nature of these discussions, the classified email system would certainly have been used, presumably making the final document classified.

    I don’t know what makes a meeting with the president-elect a classified meeting. Perhaps Obama decided the existence of a special briefing for the President-elect should be kept secret.

    On January 6, Comey and the other three Intelligence Chiefs worked for the Obama administration. Both the President and President-elect were briefed on this subject. Do we know if the 2-page synopsis was given only to the President-elect? Was Obama’s meeting before or after Trump’s? Others in the Obama administration knew about the planned briefings and could have asked any of the four about their tricky meeting with the President-elect, before or after. Unlikely Comey, the other three would be leaving their jobs in a few weeks and may have wanted to create dissention between Trump and the bureaucracy. CIA Director Brennan worked in the Obama White House for four years. From my perspective, it makes more sense to guess that the information traveled from Brennan to Susan Rice or someone else in the NSC, who arranged for the leak. In fact, this passage from CNN suggests (to me, at least) that CNN knew about the synopsis before the meeting.

    “CNN has confirmed that the synopsis was included in the documents that were presented to Mr. Trump but cannot confirm if it was discussed in his meeting with the intelligence chiefs.”

    Under these circumstances, IMO, Mr. Comey’s lack of candor on 3/20 about the 1/6 meeting doesn’t suggest Comey must have been the source of the leak.

    You are correct in pointing out that there is an inconsistency between Comey’s March 20th testimony and his June 5th testimony. On March 20th (as a director of the FBI), Comey refuses to answer ANY questions about the Jan 6 meeting with the president, saying that any answer he gives will confirm press reports that such a meeting occurred and thereby lend credibility to other information in those reports. If he were to have said: “I was the only one in the room …”, then he admits that a classified meeting with the president actually took place. At the same hearing, when asked about leaks about General Flynn, he refuses to answer because he doesn’t want to confirm press reports about the existence of an FBI investigation into Flynn’s activities that could have been the source of such a leak. If he says that Flynn leak is under investigation, he admits there was something to leak about Flynn. In this hearing and others, Mr. Comey and others are constantly dancing around questions about investigating leaks, because they don’t want to confirm the existence of a classified subject that could be the source of leaks. The dialog is very strange.

    However, on June 5 (as a private citizen), Mr. Comey is willing to discuss everything about the Jan 6 meeting. Something has changed. Was the the existence of a meeting declassified? Was Mr. Comey, the private citizen, bound by different rules than Mr. Comey, the director of the FBI? Or did Mr. Comey make the decision on his own (as he did with the HRC email announcement)? I don’t know if anyone asked Comey why the meeting was a classified subject when he avoided it on 3/20 and not classified? on 6/5.

  30. JTK551
    Posted Jul 20, 2017 at 9:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Can’t quite figure out the bizarre entry into US domestic partisan politics, while ignoring serious aspects of same. But it is Steve’s blog, and his call.

    Should I expect a blog on the Clinton Death List next?

    • JTK551
      Posted Jul 20, 2017 at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

      followed by a series of sneering “rebuttals” in the media (CNN, Slate, Politico, Vanity Fair).

      Are the “rebuttals” sneering merely because they dispute Trump’s claim? Looked at the 1st two, and didn’t see the sneering.

      But doesn’t it trouble folks that the President is making unsubstantiated accusations based on a very unreliable source?

    • TAG
      Posted Jul 20, 2017 at 3:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The NY Times interview was of a piece with Trump’s interaction with Comey. He has no inkling of the need that the administration of justice be necessarily independent of the political aspects of the presidency. He thinks of his justice officials as he thinks of executives within a private firm. They all report to and act in the interests of the CEO. That is the reason that he demanded loyalty from Comey and fired him when he did not get it. That is why he complained about Sessions and the others.

      Trump states incorrectly that the FBI formerly reported to the president before a change that happened as a result of Nixon’s behaviour. The FBI always has reported to the Department of Justice. The change under Nixon was a requirement that all communication from the political aspect pf the White House be limited to a very small set of officials. So, Trump, as in many other things, has it completely backwards. The FBI has been independent of the political presidency from the beginning

      • mpainter
        Posted Jul 20, 2017 at 3:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Trump’s fixing to fire Mueller, so save your sqawks you’re going to need them.

        • TAG
          Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 5:04 AM | Permalink

          Nixon attempted to fire Archibald Cox

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 5:50 AM | Permalink

          Not attempted, but in fact fired.
          TAG: you can’t do that.
          Trump: watch

        • TAG
          Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

          In regard to the firing of special prosecutors: People of a certain age will remember leon Jaworski. Leon Jaworski walked up the steps of the Supreme Court building to cries of “Give ’em hell Leon!”. He obtained the order releasing the tapes despite Nixon’s claim of executive privilege. Nixon’s firing of Archibald Cox mortally wounded his presidency.

          Nixon was a brilliant man. He could have been a great president if only he could have restrained his instincts. Nixon and Trump are alike in some ways and very much different in others. One commonality for each is hubris and Greek tragedies concern protagonists with hubris.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

          Well, TAG, a lot of wishful thinkers are trying to draw parallels between Nixon and Trump, but they always omit the overriding consideration: under Nixon, the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress; under Trump, the Republicans control both houses of Congress. Do the wishful thinkers imagine that Republicans are ready to let the Democrats convert their witch hunt into an impeachment proceeding? Dream on.

        • TAG
          Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

          parallels between Nixon and Trump

          Nixon would not have confused Napoleon with Napoleon III. It was Napoleon III who commissioned the redesign of Paris.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

          TAG, one can buy a Trump Voodoo doll on the internet, complete with pins. I think that’s what you need as a channel for your impulses.

      • Follow the Money
        Posted Jul 20, 2017 at 4:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Can’t quite figure out the bizarre entry into US domestic partisan politics, while ignoring serious aspects of same. But it is Steve’s blog, and his call.

        Did you watch Comey’s corn pone, aw shucks, ‘I’m a naif,’ routine in front of Congress? His statements and demeanor all begged for closer examination, whatever one thinks of Trump or Clinton.

  31. franktoo
    Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 8:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve wrote: “Had Rep King known these details on March 20 – in particular, that Comey was the only person present in the briefing to Trump on the Steele Dossier, it is evident that his questioning on the CNN leak would have gone in a very different direction.

    IMO, the fact that Comey was the only one who briefed the President-Elect suggests that Comey was not the source of the leak. CNN reported (at the link you cited above):

    “CNN has confirmed that the synopsis was included in the documents that were presented to Mr. Trump but cannot confirm if it was discussed in his meeting with the intelligence chiefs.”

    This “synopsis” summarized the rumors circulating about Trump including the Steele dossier. If Mr. Comey had been the source, CNN would have known whether the synopsis was or was not discussed. This sentence suggests (to me) that CNN learned about the meeting before or as it was happening, but had no information from anyone who attended it.

    Mr. Comey almost certainly did not compose this synopsis by himself. The four intelligence chiefs likely decided upon a final document by email, and probably discussed some aspects of it with subordinates to ensure accuracy and propriety. Others in the Obama administration knew about the planned briefings and could have asked any of the four about their tricky meeting with the President-elect, before or after. CIA Director Brennan, for example, worked in the Obama White House for four years and therefore wa close to many partisans outside the professional intelligence community. Unlike Comey, almost everyone else who learned about the meeting would be leaving their jobs in a few weeks. They may have had partisan incentives to leak and would not be around to deal with the consequences.

    You are correct in pointing out that there is an inconsistency between Comey’s March 20th testimony and his June 5th testimony. On March 20th (as a director of the FBI), Comey refuses to answer ANY questions about the Jan 6 meeting with the president, saying that any answer he gives will confirm press reports that such a meeting occurred and thereby lend credibility to other information in those reports. If he were to have said: “I was the only one in the room …”, then he would have been admiting that a classified meeting with the president actually took place. When asked about leaks about General Flynn at the same hearing, he refuses to answer because he doesn’t want to confirm press reports about the existence of an FBI investigation into Flynn’s activities. If he says that the Flynn leak is under investigation, he would have been admitting that the FBI was investigating Flynn. In this hearing and others, Mr. Comey and others are constantly dancing around questions about investigating leaks, because they don’t want to confirm the existence of a classified subject that could be the source of leaks. The dialog is very strange.

    However, on June 5 (as a private citizen), Mr. Comey is willing to discuss everything about the Jan 6 meeting. Something has changed. Was the the existence of a meeting declassified? Was Mr. Comey, the private citizen, bound by different rules than Mr. Comey, the director of the FBI? Or did Mr. Comey decide to talk on his own authority (as he did with the HRC email announcement)?

  32. mpainter
    Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 9:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Mueller added to his staff two attorneys who contributed to the Clinton campaign, if news reports are correct. These two now have the opportunity to make good on their investment. Mueller knows this, of course. The plan is to investigate Trump’s business affairs and leak information to the Trump hating media, ever so ready to twist facts to Trump’s disadvantage. Such a campaign could hobble Trump’s presidency and turn supporters against him.

    Mueller sees his own opportunity in this, of course. If he injures Trump, he adds a notch to his pistol and reaps millions in royalties from the book he writes.

    It is Jeff Sessions who put Trump in this position. Whatever on earth was Sessions thinking of?

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 12:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Mueller’s violations of remit was a mistake. AG Sessions has asked the DoJ Inspector General to investigate and report the specifics. This is the preliminary step in Mueller’s dismissal. With the IG report in hand, Sessions will have all of the justification that he needs. But Trump has hinted at “conflicted” aspects of Mueller’s position, so this will be investigated also by the IG.

      But perhaps they will keep Mueller, who now is hostage to his situation, his political maneuvers now become a liability for him.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 12:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

      And what was Sessions thinking of? Who knows. Could be that Sessions is an old fox.

  33. Frank
    Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 1:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve wrote: “Had Rep King known these details on March 20 – in particular, that Comey was the only person present in the briefing to Trump on the Steele Dossier, it is evident that his questioning on the CNN leak would have gone in a very different direction. But Comey withheld that information from him.”

    If you are suggesting that Mr. Comey was the source of the leak about the 1/6 meeting, consider the following passage from the CNN article you linked above:

    “CNN has confirmed that the synopsis was included in the documents that were presented to Mr. Trump but cannot confirm if it was discussed in his meeting with the intelligence chiefs.”

    If Comey were the source of the leak, CNN would have known whether or not the synopsis of rumors about Mr. Trump had been discussed with the President-elect. This passage suggests that CNN had knowledge of what was expected to happen at this meeting, but no information from inside the meeting. The synopsis was likely written by all four intelligence chiefs with assistance from subordinates to ensure accuracy and propriety. Others in the administration were aware that a special briefing had been arranged for the President-Elect and make inquiries about the subject. And almost everyone who knew about the synopsis, except Comey, would be leaving in two weeks and not need to deal with the repercussions of a leak.

    You are correct in pointing out that there is an inconsistency between Comey’s March 20th testimony and his June 5th testimony. On March 20th, Comey refuses to answer ANY questions about the Jan 6 meeting with the president, saying that any answer he gives will confirm press reports that such a meeting occurred and thereby lend credibility to other information in those reports. If he were to have said: “I was the only one in the room …”, then he would have been admitting that a classified meeting with the president had taken place.

    However, on June 5 (as a private citizen), Mr. Comey is willing to discuss the Jan 6 meeting. Something had changed. Was the the existence of a meeting declassified? Was Mr. Comey, the private citizen, bound by different rules than Mr. Comey, the director of the FBI? Or did Mr. Comey make the decision on his own (as he did with the HRC email announcement)?

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 21, 2017 at 2:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

      A good analysis Frank, but it seems obvious that King would have asked Comey if he had been the leaker had he known the circumstances of Comey’s private conference with Trump. I conclude that Steve correctly implies that King, or some other committee member, would have directly asked Comey this question. Comey effectively dodged this deadly bullet by hiding from the committee the true circumstances of his meeting with Trump, when he divulged the Steele dossier.

      The assumption that the leaker was Comey is consistent with all that we know about his behavior concerning Trump.

      That CNN did not have all of the facts straight does not mean that Comey was not the leaker, for surely Comey was not anxious to give information that would pointed to him as the leaker.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jul 22, 2017 at 2:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

      If Comey was the 1/6/ leaker, then he would surely be smart enough to leak something that could not immediately be pinned back to him uniquely. He could also have requested CNN to issue a more generalized statement. I do not agree that the CNN statement precludes Comey as the leaker.

      In any event, I wasn’t trying to make a case about the identity of the leaker – only the narrower point that Comey’s invocation of classified information changed the March 20 questioning. King was interested in pinning down leaks and as I said before: “Had Rep King known these details on March 20 – in particular, that Comey was the only person present in the briefing to Trump on the Steele Dossier, it is evident that his questioning on the CNN leak would have gone in a very different direction. But Comey withheld that information from him”.

      I have no idea where such questioning would have gone, only that it would have gone in a different direction.

      I haven’t written up all my notes on Comey, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he systematically misled and deceived Trump and deserved to be fired.

      • pottereaton
        Posted Jul 22, 2017 at 9:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Yes, Comey deserved to be fired for that and for other derelictions related to the Clinton investigation. Comey’s firing has led to the appointment of his very good friend Mueller who is now apparently exceeding his mandate and investigating tangential matters as it relates to Trump.

        It’s instructive to note that Nixon was brought down by a disgruntled number two at the FBI, Mark Felt, who was angered when Nixon passed him over for the position of Director when Hoover died:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Felt

        • TAG
          Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 4:00 AM | Permalink

          Nixon was brought down for Watergate and his actions that politicized the administration of justice

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 10:31 AM | Permalink

          It’s not going to work, TAG. The Inspector General Michael Horowitz of the DoJ will issue his report later this year on DoJ politicization under the last administration. And his newest target of investigation? None other than Robert Mueller, who flagrantly violated his remit by ordering a probe of Trump’s personal finances.

          That particular escapade came to a screeching halt when the Inspector General stepped in and demanded documents from Mueller. The IG is charged with determining the specifics and the scope of Mueller’s violations, you see.

          Things are going very well for Trump, after all.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 2:30 PM | Permalink

          Mueller seems to have violated his remit, but won’t it take more than an IG report to blunt his attack?

        • TAG
          Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

          Nixon on the Daniel Ellsberg leak of the Pentagon papers. Nixon was infuriated by leaks

          We’ve got a countergovernment here and we’ve got to fight it. I don’t give a damn how it’s done. Do whatever has to be done to stop those leaks.… I don’t want to be told why it can’t be done.”

          Nixon about how to discredit Ellsberg

          “Don’t worry about his trial . Just get everything out. Try him in the press… leak it out.”

          <nixon describing how effective his leaks can be in attacking someone. he refers to his involvement in the Alger Hiss spying case.

          “We won the Hiss case in the papers,” … “We did. I had to leak stuff all over the place. Because the Justice Department would not prosecute it.… It was won in the papers…. I leaked out the papers. I leaked everything.… I leaked out the testimony. I had Hiss convicted before he ever got to the grand jury.”<blockquote.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

          In other words, how bold is Mueller?
          Not so bold, I would guess. He has neither legal nor moral ground in such violations of his remit and surely Sessions has enjoined him to desist. Of course, Mueller could defy Sessions and court dismissal but then his dismissal would be amply justified. Remember, the Republicans control both houses of Congress.

      • Frank
        Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 3:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve: Your post left the impression that you were suggesting Comey was the leaker, but when I read it carefully, the sentence I quoted was the strongest conclusion I could find: “would have gone in a very different direction”. But what direction? Would it have mattered?

        You are correct when you said that CNN’s statement doesn’t preclude Comey as the leaker. However, it is most consistent with the idea the someone who knew about what was expected to happen at the 1/6 briefing – probably about ten people including Comey – leaked the story before or during the meeting. I’ll speculate that Mr. Obama ordered that the existence of the meeting be classified in an attempt to avoid any leaks. (I’ll also note that this particular story probably required attention from CNN management before it was aired “within hours” of the meeting. Breaking sensational stories like the Steele Dossier are the life-blood of 24-hour news, but it entails corporate risk.)

        What some may be forgetting that Comey and others have testified under oath in closed session about many of the things others speculate about after public sessions. For the past 3.5 years, Congressional Intelligence committees have dealt with Mr. Comey in public and closed sessions. I haven’t seen any obvious sign that they have lost faith in Mr. Comey’s integrity and impartiality, despite shocking developments. My perceptions are shaped by Robert Gates accounts of dealing with Intelligence Committees as a top official in the CIA during the Iran Contra scandal in his history of Cold War, “From the Shadows…” Under a special prosecutor, he Iran-Contra investigations and trials lasted for six years, until Bush I pardoned three remaining high officials from the Reagan administration and three others at the end of his presidency. Unfortunately, it will be a long time (if ever) before a definitive history of recent events is written. In the meantime, careful analyses like yours are needed.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

          Fair enough.

          A topic that interests me greatly and which I’ve been meaning to write about: the “fingerprints” of Steele Dossier memoranda can be seen in news stories as early as September 2016 and even late August 2016 then attributed to leaks from the intel community. I’m also convinced that the super-secret intel relied upon by CIA Director Brennan to set Obama administration hair on fire in early August 2016 (as described in June 23 WaPo story) was nothing more than Steele Dossier memoranda. I think that Trump would be tactically wise to declassify and publish everything, thus proving what a cock-up it was.

  34. Frank
    Posted Jul 22, 2017 at 4:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    mpainter: “but it seems obvious that King would have asked Comey if he had been the leaker had he known the circumstances of Comey’s private conference with Trump”.

    Actually, Comey would have responded to a direct question from King about leaking by saying something like: I can’t answer that question because doing so would reveal classified information. (The meeting with Trump was classified, probably at the insistence of President Obama.) That would have resulted in Comey’s being asked the same question in a non-public session at some point. If he were the leaker and willing to lie about it, he wouldn’t need to duck the question. IMO his ducking didn’t provide us with an useful information.

    Whenever anyone from the Intelligence Community has been questioned about leaks, they usually say that the existence of ongoing leak investigations is never confirmed publicly, but that you can be sure we take leaks very seriously. There was nothing unusual or suspicious in Comey’s ducking this question. For example, the existence of an investigation into who leaked Flynn’s name is never confirmed at this hearing.

    mpainter also said: “The assumption that the leaker was Comey is consistent with all that we know about his behavior concerning Trump.”

    This statement is incorrect. Comey volunteered in his written statement – after he was fired – that he had leaked his memo to himself about his meeting with Trump about going easy on General Flynn. (I presume Comey was smart enough to write that memo in such a way that “leaking” it did not break any law.) He leaked it after Trump lied about taping that meeting (suggesting Trump could prove Comey’s version of the meeting was wrong). Comey had discussed that memo with a few trusted leaders at the FBI. So the one time we know that a leak must have come from high levels in the FBI, Comey admitted doing it himself.

    If you want a good candidate for leaking the existence of the synopsis to be presented to Trump, I’d like to nominate CIA Director John Brennan, a man who assisted Obama’s first campaign for President and then worked in the White House as Director of Anti-Terrorism for four years. Furthermore, Brennan was in an ideal position to exaggerate the importance of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian opportunists. (FWIW, he had the ability to plant disinformation with the CIA about the non-existent demonstration in Benghazi and the motivation to do so. He was in charge of preventing terrorist attacks and his future depended on Obama getting re-elected.)

    FWIW, if Comey were out to get Trump, he never would have announced the re-opening of the email investigation less than two week before the election. Nor would he have unambiguously answered Trey Gowdy’s questions about HRC’s false testimony in front of Congress about her email server.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 22, 2017 at 2:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

      No, the statement is correct. See my discussion above.

    • Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 1:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Frank: “FWIW, if Comey were out to get Trump, he never would have announced the re-opening of the email investigation less than two week before the election.”

      You are forgetting: a) Comey had very publicly committed to inform the Senate (the public) if any new Clinton email information arose. b) That the NY FBI field office was rumored to buzzing with threats of revolt if a lid was kept on the find of thousands of HRC emails on Weiner’s laptop. c) No matter what one’s political leanings the number one rule for a bureaucrat is CYA.

      There is also this: “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election,” Comey told the senators.

      • Frank
        Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 11:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Ron: You are over-simplifying the situation. Under normal circumstances, the FBI would never make any announcement about the investigation involving a candidate within a few weeks of an election. It would make the FBI nauseous to think that they had any impact either way on any election. By mid-October, Mr. Comey could have judged that was more important to avoid intervening than to keep his commitment to inform the Senate of the existence of new information. You may also recall that the FBI – at the time of the announcement – had no NEW information about anything HRC might have done wrong. They simply had learned that some of HRC’s email had been found on Weiner’s laptop. At that point, they needed a search warrant to read any email relevant to HRC. Only after reading would they know if they were in possession of any new EVIDENCE about wrong doing by HRC that would make the investigation worth re-opening. (And, as it turned out, the laptop contained no such evidence.) Mr. Comey chose (correctly IMO) to define “requesting a search warrant” rather than “finding new evidence of wrong doing” as “reopening the investigation”. However, he had a CHOICE, and was severely criticized by other prosecutors for the CHOICE he made.

        He could have told the agents in NY that the FBI would go public only when they had new evidence of wrong doing, not merely new information to examine. I don’t know whether or not that would have stopped the alleged “revolt”.

        If Mr. Comey wanted to play CYA, he could have discussed the situation with his boss, AG Lynch, and probably been ordered not to make a public announcement. Then he wouldn’t have had a CHOICE. However, as we have seen, Mr. Comey isn’t the type of person who takes the easy way out of difficult situations. He judged that his boss should have recused herself from the decision about whether to prosecute HRC due to: her close political affiliation with the Clintons, her meeting with Bill, and intelligence Comey had received. At that time, Comey was perceived as being an independent, nonpartisan official appointed to high positions by both Republican and Democratic Presidents and approved by the Senate 93-1. So, the non-partisan Comey made what he saw as the inevitable and correct decision not to prosecute and defended it and the FBI in front of Congress.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 1:20 AM | Permalink

          Mr Comey? How you sweet talk that reprobate.

        • Frank
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 4:27 AM | Permalink

          mpainter: Those lacking facts often need to resort to insults. However, I don’t want to hijack Steve’s post. Read Comey’s opening statement (p5-7) and his exchange with Congressman Gowdy (p11-13).

          https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/7-7-2016-Oversight-of-the-State-Department.pdf

          I agree with Mr. Gowdy! HRC intended to hide her email records from Congress and FOI. She committed perjury. However, she didn’t INTEND to mishandle classified information – she intended to hide things on her server, not expose them. And I agree with Mr. Comey; only a politically motivated prosecutor like Mr Gowdy would prosecute this case. He would get a hung jury at best (without cooperating HRC insiders).

          (FWIW, Clinton never used ANY email until she left the Senate in 2007 to run for President. And she never personally used her secure email at work on a PC, because she had never used a PC, only a Blackberry!)

          And Cheryl Mills apparently succeeded in destroying HRCs records without committing obstruction of justice or being indicted for mishandling of classified material (despite her hiring private attorneys without security clearances to separate work and personal email), thanks to favorable “cooperation” deals negotiated with the DoJ. I guess it helps when everyone expects you to be the next WH Chief of Staff. Sickening. They should have tried her(!) and gotten her to rat on HRC. However that would have taken six months to a year.

          As for excessive negligence, the entire State Department was guilty of excessive negligence in handling classified information. They didn’t have the equipment to properly handle classified information on the worldwide 24/7/365 schedule top officials follow these days. Secure email was only available in the State Department itself. Only President Obama had a secure Blackberry, but they refused to provide HRC with one. Mr. Comey has secure email at work and home. Most of the classified information on HRC’s server was sent TO HRC, not originated BY HRC. The senders broke the rules, not the addressees. And some of those correspondents emailed each other away from the office in the same way they did with HRC. The State Department made little effort to enforce the impractical rules and never tried to apply them to HRC.

          You can read about perjury on p7-8.

          Your problem is that Mr. Trump is a much easier target because he does know about or care about the law. Don’t blame me or Mr. Comey for his ignorance.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

          don’t worry about hijacking. your comment is thoughtful and FWIW I agree with several major points, bub not all.

          You say that “Cheryl Mills apparently succeeded in destroying HRCs records without committing obstruction of justice”. I disagree with that sentence as phrased though other points in your paragraph indicate that there are points of agreement – in particular that Cheryl Mills should have been charged. I’ve carefully parsed the chronology of the destruction of documents and there isnt a shred of doubt in my mind that Cheryl Mills went out of her way to destroy documents (that had been accidentally preserved) when she learned of their existence subsequent to the Benghazi Committee preservation order. A far clearer obstruction of justice than Martha Stewart who Comey charged (in that case, I thought that Martha Stewart was treated unfairly). Comey also charged Frank Quattrone very aggressively on obstruction of justice – I read this case while I was interested in the destruction of documents by Mann, Jones and others in Climategate.

          An incident undiscussed in understanding Hillary’s motives is the Sandy Berger case. Berger had been NSC adviser to Bill Clinton, but both he and his wife were separately friends with Hillary. (His wife acted as her real estate agent in Washington.) Berger removed (in his underwear) and destroyed (what appear to have been) a unique document, or at least uniquely annotated, pertaining to 9/11 while the 9/11 commission was going on. Berger was ultimately given a plea deal regarded at the time as a slap on the wrist – by the omnipresent Comey. Berger said that he acted alone. Two years later he was a key adviser to Hillary. I’m sure that Hillary concluded that it would be better to keep her records off site and to that extent her actions were definitely intentional.

          Hillary’s most serious issue in Whitewater was the disappearance of her billing records. As I recall, the Senate Committee wanted to charge her with obstruction of justice. Counsel to the committee, oddly, was none other than James Comey.

          Comey was later involved in deciding on the disposition of pay-for-pardon allegations concerning pardons issued in the last hours of the Clinton presidency, two of which were particularly controversial. Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, whose wife gave generously to the Clinton Foundation. Comey closed down the investigation. Hillary’s brother received (as I recall) a $400,000 payment for a pardon for a couple of drug dealers. Comey closed down the investigation (the payment was apparently returned.)

          I think that your interpretation on classified materials is fair – at least in terms of what is extant. The number of preserved classified records is small and would show an intent to keep classified materials on the State system. However, we don’t know whether they bleached classified records from the system.

          One of the most notable obstruction in Cheryl Mill’s bleaching was her destruction of metadata from the server(s) – metadata that would have given information on potential penetration. Was Hillary’s server hacked by APT28 or others? If it were proved that Hillary’s unsecured server had been hacked by the “Russians” and this were known, I think that this would have hurt Hillary politically and much of the “Russia, Russia” stuff would have blunted as being due to Hillary’s own fault. APT28 apparently got into the State Department; I thought that it would be ironic if the APT28 infestation originated in the Clinton server and then to the State Dept, but we’ll never know.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

          The FBI didn’t question Hillary Clinton under oath, although they(sh)could have: her lies would have become chargeable offences than.
          Oversight of the State Department committee Chairman Haffetz started out about how the average Joe is treated compared to the Establishment James, but then made the same mistake with FBI director Comey: not questioned under oath although he (sh)could have.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

          Frank, you say : ” However, she didn’t INTEND to mishandle classified information – she intended to hide things on her server, not expose them.”

          My understanding is that the law does not require a demonstration of intent, but only prove an act of carelessness involving national secrets. Comey, imo, meant to dupe the public. Did he succeed?

        • Frank
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

          Thank you for your generous comments. I had forgotten your post about destruction of non-HRC email on the server. Cheryl Mills has so far escaped obstruction and may be protected by a generous “cooperation agreement”. Given enough time, an aggressive special prosecutor might overcome omerta, but that process is very slow and fallible humans don’t alway remember everything that might be found in their records. In desperation, they can be tempted to implicate others, rightly or wrongly.

          FWIW, my view of Comey is shaped by the fact that he didn’t need to be at the center or the Clinton email scandal (to help HRC if that were his motivation) or possibly other events that followed. Why did he do it? Dedication to the integrity of the FBI? Ego? Ulterior motives? Never-Trump? And by the fact that the Senators who oversee his work in closed session still treat him with complete respect, despite the shocking events that have transpired. I could be wrong and certainly understand the motivations of others who wish to scrutinize every detail, hopefully emulating your passion for facts.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 25, 2017 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

          thanks. In difficult fact situations, reasonable people can disagree.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

          Frank, did you not notice my comment above or do you ignore it?
          If you make an effort to inform yourself on the applicable law, you will realize that Comey meant to hoodwink the public.

        • Frank
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

          mpainter asked: Frank, did you not notice my comment above or do you ignore it? If you make an effort to inform yourself on the applicable law, you will realize that Comey meant to hoodwink the public.

          You can’t be simple-minded enough to believe that Comey and the FBI’s General Counsel were stupid enough to write memos on meetings with Trump in such a way that they couldn’t be legally released or discussed. (To the best of my knowledge, the Senate Intelligence Committee has received these memos, but hasn’t released them.)

          A google search for “comey broke the law” provides 39,000 hits. Which actions broke what law according to whom? 20,000 of which probably resulted from Trump tweeting about the memos. Trump’s lawyer probably prompted another 18,900 hits. I didn’t know which of the remaining 100 hints you might be referring to.

          To enable advisors to be totally candid with the President, the doctrine (not a law) of executive privilege prevents advisors from being forced to disclose their advice. It doesn’t protect presidents from voluntary statements by their advisors. The WH didn’t formally object to Comey’s recent appearance.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

          snip

          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 9:46 AM | Permalink
          Frank, you say : ” However, she didn’t INTEND to mishandle classified information – she intended to hide things on her server, not expose them.”

          My understanding is that the law does not require a demonstration of intent, but only prove an act of carelessness involving national secrets. Comey, imo, meant to dupe the public. Did he succeed?

          Steve: please stop ad homs.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 25, 2017 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

          Steve, I protest. I disagree that suggesting the someone was duped is an ad hominem.

          Furthermore, why have you singled me out for censure when Frank has twice directed ugly slurs at me as here:

          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 9:28 PM | Permalink
          mpainter asked: Frank, did you not notice my comment above or do you ignore it? If you make an effort to inform yourself on the applicable law, you will realize that Comey meant to hoodwink the public.

          You can’t be simple-minded enough to believe that Comey and the FBI’s General…

          ###

          And here

          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 4:27 AM | Permalink
          mpainter: Those lacking facts often need to resort to insults.

          I think that I am owed better consideration from you.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 2:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Comey announced the renewed investigation of Hillary out of self-defense. See my comments above starting with July 12, 3:55 am

  35. Kuni
    Posted Jul 22, 2017 at 9:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/we-were-mistaken-fox-and-friends-issues-rare-correction-on-false-comey-memo-story-no-word-from-trump/
    ‘We were mistaken’: Fox and Friends issues rare correction on false Comey memo story — no word from Trump

    . . . “Yesterday on this program we aired and tweeted this story saying former FBI director James Comey leaked memos containing top secret information,” he said. “We were mistaken in that. According to the report, half of the memos contain information classified at the secret or confidential, not top-secret. Markings of the documents in which Mr. Comey leaked are, at this point, unclear. Just wanted to straighten that out.”

    The network did not apologize to Comey for alleging he did anything illegal or unethical nor did Doocy’s fellow Fox and Friends hosts comment the network’s flub.

    Senior White House aide Kellyanne Conway ran with the information during her appearance on CNN Monday and asked why CNN wasn’t reporting the story. CNN ultimately discussed the inaccuracies in the story and the report fell apart by late Monday afternoon.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 1:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Kuni, Comey leaked classified information. That is illegal. You are one of the confused but don’t feel bad because there are many like you because of the fake news that gets poured out by such as your link.
      Their intention is to dupe and you were duped.

  36. Follow the Money
    Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 4:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    SM,

    Green Party candidate Jill Stein says that her name was stated by a Senate committee letter to Trump Junior. She expresses amazement.

    But her name is mentioned in the Dodgy Dossier.

    I read the July 19 letter to Junior. It asks for communications with many names. More, a lot of the names are in order nearly verbatim as they appear in the dossier. See No. 2 request in the letter.

    The names of businesses and people aligned with the dossier begin at the Ritz Carlton, Manafort, Page..etc. down to lesser known names as “Fridman…Aven…Khan” — appearing in that same order.

    So your ideas about the primacy of the Dossier have more merit, borne out by the wording of the Senate committee July 19 letter.

    For Stein there is a header “-Kremlin engaging with several high profile US players, including STEIN, PAGE, and (former DIA Director Michael Flynn), and funding their recent visits to Moscow.” In that same report the same is later elaborated a little.

    • Follow the Money
      Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 5:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Take these names as they appear in order in the Senate Committee letter to Junior: Peskov, Putin, Ritz, Manafort, Page, Sechin, Ivanov, Diveykin, Millian, Medvedev, Flynn, Stein, Cohen, Kosachev, Yanukovich, Lewandowski, Kislyak, Ushakov, Vaino, Kalugin, Bondarev, Fridman, Aven, Khan, Govorun, Lavrov, Rosneft, Kiriyenko, Solodukhin.

      These names appear in the same exact order in the “Detail” of the Dossier (which has some black outs) with the following exceptions:

      There is no Millian.

      Stein comes just before, not just after Flynn.

      “Rosneft” is out of place.

      That’s it.

      For some odd reason Flynn’s name is not capitalized, as is every other name in the Dossier. he is called at least twice, “former DIA Director Michael Flynn.”

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 9:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

      interesting that it’s influencing letters even now.

      But even more interesting is re-tracing breadcrumbs back to Sep 2016 and Aug 2016.

      • Follow the Money
        Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 10:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I look forward to your revelations.

        Milllian, that is Sergei Millian, is quite the character. He is reported to be a secret source for the Dossier, but I think he denies it. He might be framed. He is nonetheless a bizarre character who has expressed fantasies about his connections to Trump:

        Story about Millian.

  37. Follow the Money
    Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 5:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Just to be pesky, “Peskov” appears before “Putin” in the “Summary”, but after Putin in the “Detail.” Apologies!!

  38. jddohio
    Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 6:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    One very important way that Comey mishandled the Clinton email investigation was that he failed to record her testimony. See http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/286849-fbi-didnt-record-clinton-interview-no-sworn-oath

    It is an absolute joke to question a known liar such as Hillary Clinton for 3.5 hours and to fail to record it. Think of the pressure that an FBI agent would be under if his recollection varied from that of Clinton in an important way. Theoretically, because Clinton was not in custody the FBI rules regarding the recording of statements didn’t have to be followed. See this link for some of FBI rules: https://www.emptywheel.net/2014/05/21/fbi-will-now-videotape-in-custody-interrogations/ However, if the FBI was seriously questioning Clinton to really search for information (instead of using the 3.5 hours of “questioning” as a sham technique to give cover to a political decision not to prosecute Clinton), it would have recorded the session. This joke of a procedure and “investigation” strongly undermines Comey’s claim that he was apolitical while heading the FBI. I took part in many depostions as part of my workers compensation practice and although they were not nearly as big as the Clinton matter, all of them were recorder or transcribed.

    JD

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 9:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

      interesting to compare how Comey handled Hillary vs how he handled Martha Stewart who was charged with obstruction

      Comey didn’t take any evidence from Hillary until he’d taken multiple statements from various aides, so Hillary knew what had been said. Cheryl Mills, who obstructed justice by destroying evidence, not only was given a pass, but allowed to sit in on Hillary interview. He didn’t crosscheck to see if Hillary lied.

      Although obstruction was main charged against Martha Stewart (whose actual obstruction was trifling), he told Chafetz and Gowdy that he didn’t investigate obstruction by Hillary and her aides because he hadnt received a complaint.

      • Frank
        Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 10:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Comey told Chafetz that the FBI doesn’t investigate the possibility that a Congressional witness has committed perjury until the FBI receives a complaint from Congress. Then Gowdy read some of HRC’s statements to Congress and Comey said clearly explained how she answered the FBI differently. Chafetz allegedly filed a complaint the same day. I don’t know what has happened to it.

        https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/7-7-2016-Oversight-of-the-State-Department.pdf

        When Bush I pardoned Sec Def Weinberger at the end of his term, Special Prosecutor Walsh was about to try Weinberger for allegedly lying to Congress about Iran-Contra.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

          Here Frank, I copy my comment which you have studiously ignored. Let’s see you respond.

          Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 9:46 AM | Permalink
          Frank, you say : ” However, she didn’t INTEND to mishandle classified information – she intended to hide things on her server, not expose them.”

          My understanding is that the law does not require a demonstration of intent, but only prove an act of carelessness involving national secrets. Comey, imo, meant to dupe the public. Did he succeed?

        • Frank
          Posted Jul 25, 2017 at 4:25 AM | Permalink

          You decide whether Comey tried to dupe Americans. He’s got eight or so knowledgeable and justifiably angry Republican Congressmen eager to shred his legal analysis.

          https://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/7-7-2016-Oversight-of-the-State-Department.pdf

          Director Cpmey’s Opening Statement:

          “Maybe I could just say a few words at the beginning that would help frame how we think about this. There are two things that matter in a criminal investigation of a subject: What did the person do? And when they did that thing, what were they thinking?
          When you look at the hundred years plus of the Justice Department’s investigation and prosecution of the mishandling of classified information, those two questions are obviously present: What did the person do? Did they mishandle classified information? And when they did it, did they know they were doing something that was unlawful? That has been the characteristic of every charged criminal case involving the mishandling of classified information. I am happy to go through the cases in particular.
          In our system of law, there’s a thing called mens rea. It’s important to know what you did, but when you did it, this Latin phrase ‘‘mens rea’’ means, what were you thinking? And we don’t want to put people in jail unless we prove that they knew they were doing something they shouldn’t do. That is the characteristic of all the prosecutions involving mishandling of classified information.
          There is a statute that was passed in 1917 that, on its face, makes it a crime, a felony, for someone to engage in gross negligence. So that would appear to say: Well, maybe in that circumstance, you don’t need to prove they knew they were doing something that was unlawful; maybe it’s enough to prove that they were just really, really careless, beyond a reasonable doubt.
          At the time Congress passed that statute in 1917, there was a lot of concern in the House and the Senate about whether that was going to violate the American tradition of requiring that, before you’re going to lock somebody up, you prove they knew they were doing something wrong, and so there was a lot of concern about it. The statute was passed. As best I can tell, the Department of Justice has used it once in the 99 years since, reflecting that same concern. I know, from 30 years with the Department of Justice, they have grave concerns about whether it’s appropriate to prosecute somebody for gross negligence, which is why they’ve done it once that I know of in a case involving espionage.
          And so when I look at the facts we gathered here, as I said, I see evidence of great carelessness, but I do not see evidence that is sufficient to establish that Secretary Clinton or those with whom she was corresponding both talked about classified information on email and knew, when they did it, they were doing something that was against the law, right?
          So, given that assessment of the facts and my understanding of the law, my conclusion was and remains no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case. No reasonable prosecutor would bring the second case in a hundred years focused on gross negligence. And so I know that’s been a source of some confusion for folks. That’s just the way it is. I know the Department of Justice. I know no rea- sonable prosecutor would bring this case. I know a lot of my former friends are out there saying they would. I wonder where they were the last 40 years, because I’d like to see the cases they brought on gross negligence. Nobody would; nobody did.”

          You can read the rest on your own. Why Petraus was prosecuted, but not Clinton. Why they granted immunity to the technician who wiped Clinton’s server. The ridiculous “cooperation agreements” reached by the DoJ with Clinton’s close associates. The widespread mishandling of classified information by many high level officials in the State Department who live in a 24/7/365 world at war with terrorists and lack the secure communications to do their job. And best of all, you can hear Trey Gowdy – another former prosecutor – CONVINCINGLY lecture Comey on how to demonstrate HRC’s intent in a courtroom (but not her intent to mishandle classified information).

          And when you read the challenging questions from the other Republicans, remember that James Comey didn’t need to be the one facing that Inquisition. Making and defending the HRC decision was AG Lynch’s responsibility. Lynch had been appointed a US Attorney by Bill Clinton. Obama named her to be Attorney General after Eric Holder, and it took six months to get her narrowly confirmed. A few weeks earlier she had met Bill Clinton in private. Comey had intelligence suggesting she was compromised in a third way. Believing Lynch should have recused herself from the decision, Comey usurped her role, made what he believed was an inevitable and correct decision, announced it without consulting Lynch, and defended it publicly. Why?

          “I am proud to be here today representing the people of the FBI, who did this investigation, as they do all their work, in a competent, honest, and independent way. I believe this investigation was conducted consistent with the highest traditions of the FBI. Our folks did it in an apolitical and professional way, includ- ing our recommendation as to the appropriate resolution of this case.
          As I said in my statement on Tuesday, I expected there would be significant public debate about this recommendation, and I am a big fan of transparency, so I welcome the conversation we are going to have here today. And I do think a whole lot of folks have questions about, so why did we reach the conclusion we did, and what was our thinking? And I hope very much to get an opportunity to address that and to explain it. And I hope, at the end of day, people can disagree, can agree, but they will at least understand that the decision was made and the recommendation was made the way you would want it to be: by people who didn’t give a hoot about politics but who cared about, what are the facts, what is the law, and how have similar people, all people, been treated in the past?”

          You, of course, are not required to accept any of this BS as the truth and pity my naivety and that of the other Congressmen who still treat Comey with respect. However, in that case, you need to come up with another explanation for why Comey didn’t leave this thankless job to his boss, AG Lynch – who certainly was not going to prosecute HRC.

          (And the Russia investigation should have been the public responsibility of the new AG Jeff Sessions. But he compromised himself at his hearing and left Comey alone with the President to discuss Flynn.)

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 25, 2017 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

          Right, Comey justifies himself by citing discussions and debate concerning the 1917 law as it was being considered. You can swallow that if you like, but Comey has ignored the statute and this statute does not require proof of intent, but only proof of carelessness. It really quite straightforward.

        • Frank
          Posted Jul 25, 2017 at 5:28 PM | Permalink

          mpainter notes: “Comey has ignored the statute and this statute does not require proof of intent, but only proof of carelessness. It really quite straightforward.”

          Absolutely. And when you prosecute Clinton, you will need prosecute dozens, possible hundred of other people at the State Department and elsewhere for breaking the same rules: discussing classified information on a non-secure government email system and via personal email accounts. Everyone who repeatedly SENT Clinton emails discussing classified information to HRC’s .clintonmail.com address mishandled classified material. She had a secure email address, but her correspondents knew they would get a much faster response via @clintonmail.com. They should ALL be prosecuted under the gross negligence standard. Totally straightforward.

          Except the gross negligence standard has only been used once – in connection with spying. No other prosecutors were bringing such cases – the violators get reprimanded, lose their security clearance, or get fired.

          Email gets officially classified two ways: 1) By the generators of intelligence, when they create documents with special markings. That email is kept on a highly secure system that is only accessible on specially-modified PCs at work (no copy and paste function, no forwarding outside the secure system, limitations on printing, etc). Director Comey had a secure email system at home, but not HRC. Obama was the only one with a secure mobile device. HRC, who had never used a PC, never personally learned to use her secure email system. Her assistants did that for her, leading her to believe she never handled classified email electronically. 2) When email is being considered for public release (FOI, subpoena, etc.), the content of non-secure messages is reviewed and officially marked classified to prevent release when appropriate. Any email discussing secret information is always considered to be classified, even though it isn’t marked classified. The FBI found only 3 documents in Clinton’s email with official classification markings on it (markings which HRC didn’t fully understand), but hundreds of them were later marked classified, so they would not be released. Clinton personally originated only a few of the documents LATER marked classified; the main offenders were the senders.

          Everyone responsible for security at the DoS knew what HRC was doing. They saw email with a @clintonmail.com address. They knew she was using a private server, but they made no attempt to deal with the problem. High officials who spend most of their time outside their offices and traveling around the world couldn’t be provided with 24/7/365 email to discuss topics that might LATER be marked classified. And the DoS’s non-secure email accounts were as vulnerable as clintonmail.com or gmail.com.

          The outrageous part was that HRC was using a private server to keep her email out of the hands of the attorneys at DoS who respond to FOI and subpoenas. She is guilty of flagrantly breaking rules for retaining government records. This might constitute a form of obstruction of justice. And her testimony under oath about the email system was grossly incorrect and probably perjury. However, her intention to control and hide her email isn’t evidence that she intended to disclose or endanger classified material.

          Cheryl Mills, not HRC, was responsible for the security rules broken and possible obstruction of justice in decommissioning, wiping the server and returning official work email to the DoS.

          I’m offended by all of this and Clinton’s corruption in general. But no one at his hearing convinced me Comey’s conclusion was wrong. Trey Gowdy came close.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 26, 2017 at 9:21 AM | Permalink

          Frank you say :

          And when you prosecute Clinton, you will need prosecute dozens, possible hundred of other people at the State Department and elsewhere for breaking the same rules: discussing classified information on a non-secure government email system and via personal email accounts. Everyone who repeatedly SENT Clinton emails discussing classified information to HRC’s .clintonmail.com address mishandled classified material. She had a secure email address, but her correspondents knew they would get a much faster response via @clintonmail.com. They should ALL be prosecuted under the gross negligence standard. Totally straightforward.
          #####

          This was Hillary’s State Department following her precedent and uncorrected by her. This all compounds the felony, that she corrupted the whole DoS with her felonious practices. Other felony indictments will surely follow. I have no doubt that the new DOJ is taking a close look at this “matter”.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 26, 2017 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

          And finally, Frank, you admit the the law requires that no intent be proven.

        • Frank
          Posted Jul 27, 2017 at 2:05 PM | Permalink

          mpainter wrote: “This was Hillary’s State Department.” with dozens of people breaking the rules.

          Unfortunately, the problem didn’t start with HRC. Practical world-wide secure email and text on mobile devices doesn’t (or didn’t) exist. Obama’s Blackberry was the first exception and it required a staff of four security experts monitoring it 24/7. The NSA refused to provide HRC with one. For all other high-level political appointees, 24/7 communications became a way of life after about 2000 and security problems extended back into the Bush administration. HRC herself was a newcomer: never used a PC in her life and began using a Blackberry only in 2006 with an account RIM server. She was moved @clintonmail.com on what had been Bill’s home server for Clinton Foundation work when she was nominated in late 2008, before entering the DoS. She knew nothing about technology, she didn’t bother to learn the rules and everyone recognized that the rules didn’t apply or wouldn’t be applied to her. These were problems for her assistants to deal with – which is why intent was a problem.

          mpainter wrote: “you admit the the law requires that no intent be proven.”

          Having listened to the hearings, I knew that that one law/charge required proof of intent and a second (almost unused) required a finding of excessive negligence without neglect. However, I thought you would benefit from reading Comey’s description of the situation. IMO, he wanted Americans like you and me to understand how and why the FBI reached their decision. With the facts the FBI had and the law (a judge would explain to a jury), Comey didn’t expect a verdict of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And prosecutors aren’t supposed to bring cases they don’t expect to win (even before defense attorneys attack their witnesses and evidence). If I (and you?) were sitting on the jury, I’d find her guilty of excessive negligence (and add charges of perjury and obstruction of justice). However, I understand and respect the reasons the FBI reached a different decision about mishandling classified material. More problematically, none of Comey’s Republican interrogators convinced me beyond a reasonable doubt that Comey was wrong – though Mr. Gowdy’s style and arguments appealed to me.

          It seems to me that Mr. Comey has become the focus of numerous conspiracy theories about why Mr. Trump has encountered so much difficulty with the Russia investigation and those suspicions start with the decision not to prosecute HRC. Since we lack full access to the facts about the Russia investigation, logical speculation is justified and useful. Distortion or mis-represention of earlier things we do or should know about doesn’t help us deal with current uncertainties.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Jul 28, 2017 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

          frank, your comments about technology make sense. However, there’s not a doubt in my mind that Hillary wanted to keep her emails away from scrutiny and that she was knowledgeable about document retention – both from her experience with Whitewater controversy over billing records and her familiarity with the prosecution of Sandy Berger. From the outset, I thought that the focus on “classified” topics was misplaced. Correspondence concerning the Clinton Foundation and its donors would not be “classified”, but would surely be something that she wanted to shield from scrutiny.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 28, 2017 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

          Frank, you are describing the swamp and its denizens. Comey’s arguments have no appeal for me, do not convince . Even Comey admits that the 1917 law does not require proof of intent “on the face of it”. Yet he chose not to prosecute. This is taking his discretion too far, imo. And it was not his call to begin with. It all rings hollow.

          Was there ever a violation so flagrant as Hillary’s? Comey is culpable, no question, for this and other lapses concerning Hillary’s questionable acts.

        • Eric Barnes
          Posted Jul 29, 2017 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

          Frank,
          There are vast differences between HRC’s behavior and any other DOS employee.

          * HRC didn’t attend classified training for DOS officials.
          * HRC set up her own mail server for conducting all business (classified or not).
          * HRC refused to keep DOS records on her mail system violating record retention law.

          Referring to what happened in the past, or what happened with the President Obama is immaterial. How to conduct business with classified information was well known throughout HRC’s tenure and prior to it as well. That HRC or other DOS employees didn’t have the option of mobile communications at times during their service is no excuse for leaking classified information. HRC’s behavior is especially egregious and obviously should be prosecuted.
          Do you believe HRC’s (or others) handling of classified information is OK because a convenient secure mobile device wasn’t available?

          HRC flagrantly violated law in her service as SOS and needs to be prosecuted.

        • Frank
          Posted Jul 30, 2017 at 11:27 PM | Permalink

          Steve wrote: “However, there’s not a doubt in my mind that Hillary wanted to keep her emails away from scrutiny and that she was knowledgeable about document retention.”

          Completely agree with your comment. What law did she break when doing so? If proper administrative procedures weren’t followed, as SoS she could change the rules that apply to the SoS. Hiding material subpoenaed by Congress or requested under FOI, appears to be a form of obstruction (of justice?). Moving to a private server demonstrates her intent to obstruct.

          Steve also wrote: “From the outset, I thought that the focus on “classified” topics was misplaced.”

          Completely agree here also. However, the investigation started because the Inspector General of the DoS filed a complaint with the FBI about mishandling of classified materiaI. So the FBI: started investigating a problematic charge, didn’t move on to perjury in front of Congress (which is sensibly only investigated following an official complaint from Congress), and didn’t focus on what Hillary hid.

          Cheryl Mills might have been an easier target than HRC, but she got a sweet co-operation agreement from the DoJ. She admitted giving HRC’s emails to non-government attorneys she hired who didn’t have clearances to decide which related to work and which didn’t. There must have made some mistakes the FBI could identify by checking the records of correspondents. She ordered the non-work-related records destroyed. Conviction was probably likely, but even if convected, I doubt she ever would testify against HRC. (She worked on Bill’s defense team in 1998, the family consigliere.)

          If you are suspicious of Comey, he was in charge of the FBI when the IRS investigation ended. His closure of the IRS investigation seems to have escaped attention, because Congress was chasing after Lois Lerner’s lost email and fighting with the new Director of the IRS. I suspect a similar issue was involved: Grossly inappropriate actions were take at the IRS, but what law was broken? Congressional investigation, censure, negative publicity, and immunization to force testimony might have accomplished more than the dubious FBI investigation. Still could.

        • Frank
          Posted Jul 31, 2017 at 3:39 AM | Permalink

          mpainter wrote: “Frank, you are describing the swamp and its denizens. Comey’s arguments have no appeal for me, do not convince . Even Comey admits that the 1917 law does not require proof of intent “on the face of it”. Yet he chose not to prosecute. This is taking his discretion too far, imo. And it was not his call to begin with. It all rings hollow.

          You are certainly entitled to your own opinion. I simply wanted help you understand the facts. Mr. Comey acknowledged that not everyone would agree, but he made an effort to help us understand how and why the decision was made. As I pointed out several times, he didn’t need to become the public “face” of this decision; he could have left that job to AG Lynch.

          mpainter: Was there ever a violation so flagrant as Hillary’s?

          Possibly. IMO, the IRS targeting of the conservative groups was worse. Some of them alleged that they were harassed by other regulatory agencies besides the IRS once they filed for non-profit status. However, all of this is opinion and I don’t want to tell anyone their opinion is wrong.

        • Frank
          Posted Jul 31, 2017 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

          Eric commented: “How to conduct business with classified information was well known throughout HRC’s tenure and prior to it as well. That HRC or other DOS employees didn’t have the option of mobile communications at times during their service is no excuse for leaking classified information.”

          Eric: No leaks of classified information were ever linked to HRC or her server. Her excessive carelessness put classified information at risk.

          One extreme example of a classified subject being discussed over email were drone strikes in Pakistan. When a high value target was identified at a particular location, HRC apparently had a brief window of opportunity to object, but no secure communication channel to use.

          The first email HRC received at @clintonmail.com that was later classified and not released came from General Petraus.

          HRC had probably never seen a classified document before she arrived at the DoS. Neither had her close associates nor possibly half of the political appointees who arrived with her. HRC didn’t use email before 2006. Never used a PC, the only way to read secure email. Entered the world of 24/7 communications and classified documents at 60+ after a lifetime of having secretaries and assistants deal with her communications. The man who handled electronic security for her 2008 campaign and her home server was given a political appointment in DoS’s security staff.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 31, 2017 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

          For those who wish to see another perspective on James Comey, different from Frank’s, see the above post by our host Steve McIntyre.

          It will be interesting to see the final report by the DoJ IG which surely will address the topic of that post.

        • Eric Barnes
          Posted Jul 31, 2017 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

          Frank,
          You appear to be speculating on what may or may not have happened to the federal records in HRC’s care (the ones she provided anyway). Just because we can’t see that classified record doesn’t mean they don’t exist and it also doesn’t mean they are/were secure. That’s the whole point of classifying information and keeping records. HRC never intended to be open, responsible or discrete. It’s like drunk driving without knowing if there was a crash or not. Intent doesn’t matter.

          As to the Federal records themselves, 18 US Code 2071 https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2071 is very clear what the penalties should be IMO. I am not a lawyer so I’m not quite sure how that very plain penalty could be avoided. She obviously conceded they were federal records when she produced them for FOIA requests. She brazenly ignored the Federal Records act from start to finish of her tenure.

          I also am puzzled by Steve (and your) lack of concern regarding classified information over unsecure channels. You state that that HRC never sent any classified material, but all you have is what she provided. Not convincing or assuring in the least. IMO, those responsible for those leaks should be punished to the fullest extent permissible. Would someone in Afghanistan be so understanding that they were outed because someone was out for pizza and couldn’t make it to the SCIF on time? One would expect the leader of State would set an example for others to follow rather than designing a system to reap maximum political/personal profit.

          Regarding Ms. Mills, I find it strange that you would think her culpable when HRC is/was the SOS and bears the responsibility for her actions. Any common person who has accepted responsibility would immediately understand, but those in higher office seem to be immune to common sense.

          Thanks for the response.

        • Eric Barnes
          Posted Jul 31, 2017 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

          Frank: “HRC had probably never seen a classified document before she arrived at the DoS. Neither had her close associates nor possibly half of the political appointees who arrived with her. HRC didn’t use email before 2006. Never used a PC, the only way to read secure email. Entered the world of 24/7 communications and classified documents at 60+ after a lifetime of having secretaries and assistants deal with her communications.”

          And yet she couldn’t be bothered to attend the class on handling classified information. Setting a nice example for her staff. I wouldn’t want HRC near my lawn mower, let alone the DOS.

          The below contradicts your linking statement above.

          https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/statement-by-fbi-director-james-b-comey-on-the-investigation-of-secretary-hillary-clinton2019s-use-of-a-personal-e-mail-system

          “Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

          For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).”

        • Frank
          Posted Aug 4, 2017 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

          mpainter writes: “Without a Russian hack there is nothing, Frank.”

          Others disagree. Campaign laws prevent soliciting donations from foreign citizens or agents of foreign governments, whether that assistance is monetary or not. Several agents for the Trump campaign tried to get access to stolen information from HRC’s email server through the Russians – something that unambiguously would have assisted the Trump campaign.

          One grand jury is already consider evidence against General Flynn that has nothing to do with the DNC hacking. Those charges include lying to the FBI, not disclosing payments from foreign sources, etc. A second grand jury just began work.

          Then we have the biggest problem of all: Was Trump’s former favorable attitude towards Putin and Russia the result of financial pressure or fear of blackmail? Why did Trump withdraw aid from moderate Syrian rebels? Did Trump fire Comey and threaten to fire Mueller (obstruction of justice) because he has something to hide? Congress voted by massive margins to remove Trump’s ability to end sanctions against Russia.

        • jddohio
          Posted Aug 4, 2017 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

          Frank: “Campaign laws prevent soliciting donations from foreign citizens or agents of foreign governments, whether that assistance is monetary or not.”

          Maybe they want to broaden the investigation into whether Democrats solicited donations from green card holders, parents of “dreamers” or non-citizens active in trying to repeal or evade immigration laws. Also, whether the Democrats received in-kind contributions of work done by non-citizens during the most recent campaign.

          Take a look at Johnny Chung http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4251046/Illegal-Clinton-fundraiser-tape-fearing-life.html Among other things “Chung described on the tape how Democrats on the House Committee on Government Reform tried to dissuade him from testifying publicly before the committee by sending his attorney a letter telling him he could plead the Fifth Amendment.” He received probation. I think any concerns about campaign law violations are merely convenient excuses to harass Trump.

          JD

        • Frank
          Posted Aug 4, 2017 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

          Eric: I share your outrage at HRC’s conduct, but understand why it wasn’t resolved with criminal charges. Some brief points:

          HRC hired a law firm to comply with her obligations to return email and other records to the DoS. There is no evidence that she was personally responsible for the mistakes made during that process. Attorney-client privilege may protect it from investigation.

          Cheryl Mills, not HRC, supervised dismantling of the email server.

          Lack of transparency by conducting government business on a non-government email account is not a criminal offense.

          Normally, mishandling classified information is a crime only if you knowingly do so. HRC never personally used the system for classified email; her assistants did that for her. HRC didn’t know that her ordinary email that discussed sensitive subjects was always considered classified and could be officially marked as such later. She received 3 emails that contained paragraphs with special symbols indicating they contained classified material, but HRC may not have recognized those markings

          Gross negligence in handling classified information is also a crime even without intent. Comey basically admitted that HRC was grossly negligent, but said that this law has been applied only once, when secret information was actually stolen. He doubted a conviction for any kind of negligence could be obtained without evidence of intent. It is unethical for a prosecutor to bring a case he doesn’t expect to win.

          Did we really want to see HRC withdraw from the campaign because she had been indicted, be tried, and found innocent? As it turned out, justice was rendered at the polls, not in the courtroom.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 4, 2017 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

          Mueller has to show Russian intervention in the election. If he can’t, he can’t go fishing, trying to find tar for his brush. My point stands.

        • Frank
          Posted Aug 5, 2017 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

          mpainter: Mueller’s charter from the DOJ:

          ORDER NO. 3915-2017 APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE WITH THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND RELATED MATTERS

          By virtue of the authority vested in me as Acting Attorney General, including 28 U.S.C. §§ 509, 510, and 515, in order to discharge my responsibility to provide supervision and management of the Department of Justice, and to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian govemmenfs efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, I hereby order as follows:
          (a) Robert S. Mueller III is appointed t() serve as Specia] Counsel for the United States Department of Justice.
          (b) The Special Counsel is authorized to conduct the investigation confirmed by then-FBI Director James 8. Comey in testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on March 20, 2017, including:
          (i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and
          (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and
          (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).
          (c) If the Special Counsel believes it is necessary and appropriate, the Special Counsel is authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters.

          “ANY matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” includes obstruction of justice by lying to the FBI and potentially by firing the director of the FBI for not dropping the investigation.

          “Links and/or coordination” includes DJT and Kushner’s meeting looking for information from HRC’s server as well as meetings with the Russian ambassador. It isn’t obvious to me what federal crimes might be involved in these links and coordination.

        • MrPete
          Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 5:27 AM | Permalink

          Frank wrote

          Normally, mishandling classified information is a crime only if you knowingly do so. HRC never personally used the system for classified email; her assistants did that for her. HRC didn’t know that her ordinary email that discussed sensitive subjects was always considered classified and could be officially marked as such later. She received 3 emails that contained paragraphs with special symbols indicating they contained classified material, but HRC may not have recognized those markings

          Gross negligence in handling classified information is also a crime even without intent.

          Several misunderstandings represented here. Go read the documents HRC signed to gain classified access. They’re online.

          It’s specious to claim she “may not have recognized those markings.” That right there is gross mishandling. It was her job to recognize those markings… because…

          HRC had the responsibility to recognize classified information, and ensure that it be so marked if not already marked. She failed to do so. That’s gross mishandling.

          Don’t miss that point: information is classified whether or not it is marked that way. And it was her job to recognize such information. To say “Email gets officially classified…” is to miss the point. The message is not what is classified. The information is classified, and it is classified before being placed in an email. The markings are an aid to recognition.

          In addition:
          – She did use email for classified info. She didn’t mark it classified, but the info was classified. Gross mishandling.
          – She directed that classified markings be removed. “Knowingly” mishandling.
          – She directed assistants to cross the air gap with classified info. “Knowingly” mishandling.
          – She had a maid pull info from her SCIF. “Knowingly” mishandling.

          There were so many breaches it is head-spinning.

          And BTW, I actually agree that hundreds of people may need to be prosecuted. HRC was the head of an agency that followed her lead. An entire team with complete disregard for protecting classified information. Astounding.

      • AntonyIndia
        Posted Jul 31, 2017 at 4:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Advance e-mails on drone strikes in Pakistan to HRC combined with DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Pakistani free reign IT guy Imran Awan: the perfect unsecure storm. Might explain some of misses of targets, or hits on local rival fractions between Jan. 2009 and Jan. 2013…

  39. jddohio
    Posted Jul 23, 2017 at 11:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve,

    I agree with your the thrust of you comment that the timing of the questioning of various Clinton aides helped Clinton. If Comey was seriously investigating Clinton, he would have questioned her near the beginning of the process, before she and her aides could collaborate on their stories. The fact that she was questioned at the end of the process, and the investigation was closed several days after her testimony, is strong evidence that Comey was simply brokering a political compromise.

    Also, related to the Comey matter is Robert Mueller, who was appointed special counsel. He headed the Enron prosecution, which was responsible for the illegal prosecution and destruction of Arthur Anderson. (Overturned by Supreme Court in a 9-0 ruling — too late to have any significance for Andersen’s lost business)

    JD

  40. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 7:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I hadn’t noticed that several reasonable comments were in suspense. To avoid political commentary on climate topics over the years, I have some words that trigger review.

  41. JTK551
    Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 1:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Comey’s briefing to Trump on January 6 appears to have intentionally misled Trump about counter-intelligence investigations into the Steele dossier, in effect treating Trump like a perp, rather than a legitimately elected president. It took a while for Trump to figure out that he was being played by Comey.

    All Comey was saying is that Trump was not a target. Investigating the accuracy of the dossier is NOT investigating Trump as a Target.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Intelligence_Community_Oversight#Executive_oversight

    In 2008, President George W. Bush by Executive Order removed some oversight powers from the IOB, critics argue that the changes have weakened oversight capabilities. Previously, if the IOB learned of allegedly illegal or contrary to executive order intelligence activity, it notified both the president and the attorney general, now however, the IOB must refer matters to the Justice Department for a criminal investigation. In addition, the IOB lost the authority to oversee each intelligence agency’s general counsel and inspector general.[4] The main issue with the PIAB is concerns, since they are appointed by the president, there may be politicization of their recommendations.

    I’ve seen nothing to me to indicate Comey did anything inappropriate.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 2:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Well, open your eyes and look.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Jul 25, 2017 at 8:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

      I haven’t written up my reasons for the above statement, but it is based as much on what Comey failed to disclose to Trump. It’s a long write-up and not something that I can respond to in a short comment.

  42. JTK551
    Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 5:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mueller seems to have violated his remit

    It was awful broad, and since we don’t have any insight into the evidence that has been produced over the last year, not sure how one could come to that conclusion.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39961732

    According to Mr Rosenstein’s order, he will look into:

    The Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the election

    Any links or co-ordination between Russia and Trump campaign-linked individuals

    Any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation

    What “seems” to have violated that?

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 24, 2017 at 8:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

      They are not permitted to go sniffing around in Trump’s personal finances like a truffle hound in the forest. They must go to court and specify which documents they wish to obtain, and justify their request as legitimate to their investigation. But FIRST they must show how Russia interferred with the election and so far I have seen no evidence which establishes that. And do you wishfully imagine that the CrowdStrike claims will hold up in court? Dream on.

      • TAG
        Posted Jul 26, 2017 at 6:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

        ut FIRST they must show how Russia interferred with the election

        The House of Representatives just voted 419-3 to pass a stringent sanctions bill against Russia. Provisions within the bill will prevent Trump from weakening them without congressional approval. The Senate passed a similar measure 98-2 in June. A veto-proof bill is expected to pass the Senate soon. Trump is alone in denying the reality of Russian interference.

        • mpainter
          Posted Jul 26, 2017 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

          So what? Forensics show that the DNC computer was not hacked but that the WickiLeaks data was downloaded on an external storage device. This will come out now that the swamp creatures have been rooted out of their nests and burrows.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Jul 26, 2017 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

          A (97%) majority only counts in a vote, not in real science or forensics. Decisions based on twisted facts will unravel sooner or later.

        • Posted Jul 26, 2017 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

          House vote 419-3? Senate 98-2? Russia needs to start colluding with congress more.

        • Frank
          Posted Aug 2, 2017 at 2:59 AM | Permalink

          mpainter: “Forensics show that the DNC computer was not hacked but that the WickiLeaks data was downloaded on an external storage device.”

          This rumor originated with the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. They have issued 42 reports since just before the Second Gulf War, including ones questioning the evidence that Syria carried out two chemical weapons attacks on their opposition, and questioning who shot down Malaysian Air 15 over the Ukraine, and the situation before the Second Gulg War.

          https://www.commondreams.org/author/veteran-intelligence-professionals-sanity
          https://consortiumnews.com/2017/07/24/intel-vets-challenge-russia-hack-evidence/

          Fox withdrew their story about a leaker inside the DNC.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 2, 2017 at 3:44 AM | Permalink

          The claims of the so-called “Russia hack” still await a full forensic investigation by the U.S. government. This is Mueller’s first task, to establish beyond doubt all facts and verify CrowdStrike’s claims. This task must include an examination of the DNC computer. Without establishing that the “hack” was indeed such and that Russia was the culprit, Mueller has no legal grounds for proceeding; he must show in court that Russian intelligence hacked the DNC computer.

          Was Russian intelligence so clumsy as to smear their fingerprints all over the DNC computer? This affair leaves the US intelligence community and the FBI in utter disrepute, imo.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 2, 2017 at 4:36 AM | Permalink

          Lest the point be missed: the whole Trump-Russia collusion clamor is based on CrowdStrike’s unverified claims of Russian “fingerprints” on the DNC computer. Such clumsy, inexpert fellows, those Russian spies. Yet how fearsome and frightening, with their schemes for destroying the free world. According to the media.

          A fact that you never see in the MSM: the Russian GDP is one tenth that of the U.S., one twentieth that of NATO members. Why are we so frightened?

        • David
          Posted Aug 5, 2017 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

          Seems like Russia is everywhere.
          https://fighting15th.com/2017/08/03/robert-mueller-dirty-cop/

          https://t.co/KbxP1dRy3n

        • Frank
          Posted Aug 16, 2017 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

          Frank wrote: “My challenge is for you to cite ONE improper action by Mr. Comey [as FBI Director] that clearly hurt Mr. Trump.” “[If] the man picked by Mr. Trump to be the new Director pledged to do as Mr. Comey did in the same situation during his nomination hearings, then – for the purpose of my challenge – Comey’s actions were proper.”

          mpainter wrote: “Others will read my comments and be informed. You ignore them and justify your ignorance.”

          Frank replies: Yes, we can agree about that. Other will be informed by the clarity of your response.

          Above Steve claims to have some evidence that he hopes to write up. That will be interesting to read, since it will be backed up by facts and clear reasoning.

      • Frank
        Posted Aug 4, 2017 at 3:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

        mpainter wrote: “The claims of the so-called “Russia hack” still await a full forensic investigation by the U.S. government. This is Mueller’s first task, to establish beyond doubt all facts and verify CrowdStrike’s claims. This task must include an examination of the DNC computer. Without establishing that the “hack” was indeed such and that Russia was the culprit, Mueller has no legal grounds for proceeding; he must show in court that Russian intelligence hacked the DNC computer.”

        Technically speaking, you are wrong about Mueller’s first priority. If anyone in the Trump campaign has lied to the FBI, obstructed justice, or committed any other offenses relevant to the scope of the Russia investigation, they are legitimate targets. The easiest way to get to the bottom of conspiracies is to find one party who is guilty of something or vulnerable and get him to cooperate. That will work whether or not the DNC was hacked by Russians or someone else. Or whether anyone is ever charged with “colluding” with the Russians to interfere in our election.

        For example, Ken Starr was supposed to be investigating Whitewater and some other incidents earlier in the Clinton AdministrationHe ended up collecting evidence of perjury and misconduct committed long after he was appointed. He found evidence on Monica Lewinsky’s dress had lied on prosecutors about her relationship with Bill and she she cooperated with the investigation.

        The Iran-Contra investigation mostly lead to convictions for perjury or obstruction of justice, not misusing government funds to help the Contras or making illegal sales to Iran. https://www.brown.edu/Research/Understanding_the_Iran_Contra_Affair/prosecutions.php#n_wh

        Scotter Libby was convicted of perjury about the Valerie Plame disclosure even though the initial disclosure was made by Armitage.

        This history of past investigations is intended to enlighten, not argue about what is morally right for Mueller to do today. Attorneys rely on precedent, and the law on an adversarial system to finding justice. Mueller was appointed to be the adversary of the Trump campaign.

        The problem is that Trump believes a president should not have to sit by and watch his family’s and campaign’s contacts with Russia being investigated; nor should Mueller rummage through his income tax filings and sex life for evidence that Trump’s initial warmness to Russia was due Russian leverage. Trump is likely to try to fire Mueller, which likely will prompt the resignation of Sessions, Rosenstein and others in the DoJ, and perhaps others outside the DoJ who have lost confidence in his leadership. The House presumably will consider impeachment. At that point, I suspect it will be important for the FBI and Mueller investigations to have demonstrated that there was a good reason to have begun and continued this investigation. If Trump has been using his power as president to stop an investigation that never produced any significant evidence of initial wrong doing, then he can successfully argue he was correct when attempting to redirect DoJ resources towards more important targets. No Democrats supported Clinton’s impeachment, because they didn’t think the investigations by Starr took an appropriate direction and Monica and Bill should not have been testifying in the Paula Jones “fishing expedition”. I don’t claim to know what will happen if Trump precipitates a crisis, because much of the evidence is still secret. Partisans on both sides are confident despite the limitations of their knowledge, and their opinions aren’t useful to those seeking facts. Links to useful information are great.

        I suspect that we will someday learn that there was a substantial amount of fragmentary signals intelligence showing that the Russian government (and likely Putin) was discussing contacts with the Trump campaign, some of which we know know exist and possibly other sensitive subjects (the DNC hacking. That intelligence alone won’t provide a clear picture of collusion, otherwise the Senate investigation would have released or leaked more information.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 4, 2017 at 4:30 AM | Permalink

          Without a Russian hack there is nothing, Frank.

        • Posted Aug 4, 2017 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

          Frank, the “other” Ken Starr Clinton investigation was of the mysterious death of Vince Foster, and later the finding of his Whitewater billing records in the living quarters of the WH by cleaning staff. Starr shrugged.

          mpainter, without proof of Russian hacking there is still pretty firm indications of trolls blogging on US news sites sporting eastern European accents. That counts. 😉

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 4, 2017 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

          Those accents, do they sound Ukrainian?

        • MrPete
          Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 5:03 AM | Permalink

          Frank,

          Here’s what is different:

          The Independent Counsel is required to be investigating a crime. Period. Not a person, a crime. In every case you cited, that is what they did.

          Ken Starr: initially investigating Whitewater scandal and Vince Foster death. The investigation was expanded by a three-judge oversight panel to include other issues that led to the whole Lewinsky thing. Starr was not a rogue allowed to do whatever he wanted.

          Iran Contra: they were investigating misuse of gov’t funds. The fact that the final convictions were for reduced charges is common in any courtroom in the US.

          Plame: investigation of the disclosure of an active CIA agent’s identity.

          Russian Collusion: what crime is being investigated? There is no crime alleged. Instead people are being investigated, with a hunt for a crime that can be attached to them. That’s the very definition of a witch hunt. (Note: above Frank helpfully quoted the appointment of this prosecutor. The appointment doesn’t include any alleged crime. This is not a crime: “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” If it took place it might not be palatable or desirable, but no crime is alleged.

          Here’s a pertinent quote from a SCOTUS dissent to the independent prosecutor law:

          “Nothing is so politically effective as the ability to charge that one’s opponent and his associates are not merely wrongheaded, naive, ineffective, but, in all probability, ‘crooks.’ And nothing so effectively gives an appearance of validity to such charges as a Justice Department investigation and, even better, prosecution. The present statute provides ample means for that sort of attack, assuring that massive and lengthy investigations will occur, not merely when the Justice Department in the application of its usual standards believes they are called for, but whenever it cannot be said that there are ‘no reasonable grounds to believe’ they are called for.” — SCOTUS justice Antonin Scalia

        • Frank
          Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

          Mr. Pete: You raise a good point about a “witch hunt”. Perhaps I can address it, though probably not to your satisfaction. AAG Rosenstein may have had these crimes in mind when he wrote instructions for Mueller:

          Federal election law prohibits campaigns from soliciting help from citizens or agents of foreign countries. The special prosecutor is supposed to investigate collusion (if any) and see if it qualifies for prosecution under federal statue.

          In the interest of natural security, we require disclosure of contact between former, current, and nominated officials and foreign governments, especially ones as hostile as Russia has been lately. Those colluding (if any) with the Russians probably broke these disclosure laws. Furthermore, the government is entitled to know who is susceptible to being influenced by a foreign government, either by blackmail, assets that be seized, family members who could be threatened, etc. Some fear that our President himself may be vulnerable to Russian influence. (That is a problem for Congress to address.)

          Lying to or otherwise obstructing the FBI in the course of any investigation (whether or not it leads to other charges or not) is a crime. Those violations are often overlooked if their impact is minor and didn’t interfere with other prosecutions. Martha Stewart, however, was prosecuted for obstruction of justice when her insider trading was too difficult to win in a court of law.

          When does collusion with a foreign power rise to the level of treason? The Rosenbergs were “only” sharing scientific information with our WWII allies. Suppose Trump, through intermediaries, had agreed to remove US aid from the Free Syrian Army (as Trump has done) in return for release of material from HRC’s email servers? How about eliminating US sanctions against Russia? Investigation may warranted by the extremely serious nature of the crime; prosecution seems extremely unlikely.

        • Frank
          Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

          Mr. Pete: Justice Scalia’s excellent arguments failed to prevail in the Supreme Court, but those arguments and events he “predicted” eventually convince Congress to modified the law. I believe that is why we refer to special prosecutors, not independent prosecutors today (though I don’t understand the technical difference).

          Robert Gates book about the Cold War describes how insiders felt about the Iran-Contra special prosecutor. Gates (who had spent his career in analysis not operations), had risen to Deputy Director about six months before the scandal came public. Every word every administration official said to Congress or investigators was compared with every document and handwritten meeting notes found in anyone’s files. Every discrepancy about ANY SUBJECT was assumed to represent obstruction of justice, not an innocent mistake. There was fear that a desperate colleague would implicate others. That special prosecutor carried out a “witch hunt” for six years until President Bush ended it with pardons after six years.

          This is why it was so stupid for Mr. Trump to interfere with Mr. Comey. Mr. Comey had many targets to pursue with his resources and the ability to use his discretion to direct them onto the most important targets. Mr. Mueller has no other targets. To some extent, his reputation depends on “succeeding” with the Russia collusion investigation.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 9, 2017 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

          Frank you say

          “This is why it was so stupid for Mr. Trump to interfere with Mr. Comey.”

          ###

          Trump has done some dumb things and one of them was not firing Comey on day one, imo.

          Seems that we have different perspectives on the matter.

        • Frank
          Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

          mpainter wrote: “Trump has done some dumb things and one of them was not firing Comey on day one, imo.”

          What would Mr. Trump have accomplished by firing Mr. Comey on day 1 of his administration? 1) The new FBI director Trump picked (Wray) says he is loyal to the work being done by the DoJ, not to the President. 2) Wray says Russian interference in the campaign took place and is a serious problem that he won’t ignore. So Trump has traded in Comey for someone who: believes in the same principles and strategy as Comey, will be as independent as Comey, and harder to pressure since he has just been appointed. And if Trump had fired Comey and replaced him with Wray, asking Wray for personal loyalty to the President and to go easy on Flynn would have produced the same problems Trump has today.

          Now, Trump could have fired Comey for: Exceeding his authority during the email investigation, losing the trust of both parties that he would act without partisan motivations, and disclosing negative aspects of HRC’s behavior learned in the course of an investigation that did not result in criminal charges. Trump didn’t care about these issues, so he didn’t immediately fire Comey.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

          Frank, your ignorance of Comey’s culpabilities will not make them go away. These motivated Comey to act nefariously against Trump. See head post; also my comments above. Comey played politics with the FBI. The DoJ IG report will detail Comey’s corrupt acts. The Bushco swamp creature, former Senior VP and Head Counsel of Lockheed, Trump’s natural enemy.

        • Frank
          Posted Aug 13, 2017 at 4:28 AM | Permalink

          mpainter wrote: “Your ignorance of Comey’s culpabilities will not make them go away. These motivated Comey to act nefariously against Trump. See head post; also my comments above. Comey played politics with the FBI. The DoJ IG report will detail Comey’s corrupt acts. The Bushco swamp creature, former Senior VP and Head Counsel of Lockheed, Trump’s natural enemy.”

          More unsubstantiated allegations and ad hominems. Says a lot about the quality of your thinking, but nothing useful about Mr. Comey. And why, for heaven sake should the former General Counsel of Lockheed be Trump’s “natural enemy”, while the former CEO of Exxon be Trump’s SoS?

          If you need help, Mr. Rosenstein’s problems with Mr. Comey can be found at the link below. However, Mr Trump did NOT fire Mr. Comey for these good reasons. He fired him over the Russian investigation, most likely because Trump has something to hide – bigger that Flynn or his son’s trivial violation of election laws.

          As best I can tell, Trump has traded one “swamp creature” for another at the FBI. Personally, I think swamp creature better describes Ms. Lynch (who failed to recuse herself), Ms. Yates (who failed to properly represent the government on an issue the Supreme Court has preliminarily ruled is national security), Mr. Holder, Ms. Power (who apparently asked intelligence officials to unmask more than hundred Americans?), Mr. Brennan (maestro of the Benghazi coverup?), Mr. Rhodes, Ms. Lerner, Mr. Koskinin and so on. It is interesting that no one bothers to attack the credibility of these blatantly partisan individuals – they have no inherent credibility. However, individuals who have a reputation for independent thinking and/or impartiality must be destroyed. Like our host.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 13, 2017 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

          Frank, you ignored the head post. You ignored all comments concerning Comey. You ignored all substantiation of his culpability. You ignored the DoJ IG investigation. That’s ignorance.

        • Frank
          Posted Aug 13, 2017 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

          Frank, you ignored the head post. You ignored all comments concerning Comey. You ignored all substantiation of his culpability. You ignored the DoJ IG investigation. That’s ignorance.

          I didn’t ignore the head post. I cited Steve’s conclusion at the end of this post, not its title, which is ambiguous. I believe Steve and I reached agreement that neither his evidence (nor mine) identified the 1/6 leaker, but that Comey was willing to talk about the 1/6 meeting far more candidly in June than when he claimed it was classified in March.

          I didn’t ignore the coming DoJ IG’s report; I hoped it would comment on the subject of this post.

          You persist in ignoring the fact that all of Rosenstein’s reasons for firing Comey (and probably most things in the IG’s report on Comey) predate the Trump presidency. They don’t involve Comey harming President Trump. The culpable party during the Trump presidency was Mr. Trump. As proof, I offer the testimony of the man nominated by Mr. Trump to replace Mr. Comey. With one exception, he endorsed Mr. Comey’s actions said he would behave similarly under similar circumstance. You have repeatedly ignored this IRREFUTABLE proof that Mr. Comey didn’t improperly or unethically harm Mr. Trump.

          Before the Trump presidency, there are plenty of Mr. Comey’s actions that could be criticized, but neither you nor Mr. Trump are seriously complaining about those actions.

          1) Surely you don’t believe Mr. Comey could have compelled Ms. Lynch to prosecute Hillary?

          2) Mr. Comey did exceed his authority and we will hear if the DoJ IG thinks Mr. Comey was justified in doing so. Mr. Comey’s TRANSPARENCY placed far more negative information about HRC in the public eye than anyone else would have. Surely you aren’t criticizing him for that?

          Mr Wray did criticize Mr. Comey for too much transparency, and the IG’s report probably will too. After all of HRC public lies about the email scandal, I personally don’t think HRC deserved the privacy normally accorded to unindicted private citizens. Do you? For example, the entire grand jury transcript of the investigation of unindicted officer Darren WIlson’s killing of Michael Brown was released to the public due to the high level of public interest. The same principle applied to HRC.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 14, 2017 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

          Frank, see my comments above, which anticipate all of your points and which you ignore. I invite all to form their own opinions as to whether Frank shows any comprehension of the head post, which Frank claims he has refuted. As for me, I am tired of cleaning the wall after Frank.

        • Frank
          Posted Aug 14, 2017 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

          mpainter: This thread has gotten quite long. Citing “comments above” is a meaningless response to specifics.

          Mr. Trump has been badly hurt by his interactions with Mr. Comey, but some – possibly all – of this harm was caused by Mr. Trump’s own mistakes. Your most important issue (and popular perception) is that Mr. Comey’s improper actions AS FBI DIRECTOR harmed Mr. Trump. My challenge is for you to cite ONE improper action by Mr. Comey that clearly hurt Mr. Trump.

          There is a lot of controversy about the proper relationship between the Director of the FBI and the President. We can’t settle that controversy. However, if the man picked by Mr. Trump to be the new Director pledged to do as Mr. Comey did in the same situation during his nomination hearings, then – for the purpose of my challenge – Comey’s actions were proper.

          As for this post, Mr. Comey’s lack of candor about the 1/6 meeting in front of Congress on 3/20 didn’t harm Mr. Trump. (Our host has conceded that Mr. Comey’s sole present during the most sensitive part of that meeting doesn’t prove that Comey was the leaker. I quoted parts of CNN’s report implying that the leaker knew about the subject of the meeting, but didn’t know what happened when Comey was alone with the President.)

          Please don’t waste my time with the fantasy that AG Lynch (or DAG Yeats) would have indicted HRC if that had been Mr. Comey’s recommendation.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 14, 2017 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

          Others will read my comments and be informed. You ignore them and justify your ignorance.

  43. EdeF
    Posted Jul 25, 2017 at 1:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    My lone comment on this topic is that, having spent 35 yrs in DoD, had I or any of my fellow grunt level workers done any of this, we would be in Leavenworth.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Aug 9, 2017 at 10:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for that. Since ages two different systems of justice operate in parallel also in the “free” West: one for a few thousand Sharks and one for the millions of tuna / bass / herring.
      This was one of Trump’s election planks and got him votes. A reformed shark?

  44. Posted Jul 26, 2017 at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    @ mpainter comment from Jul 26 at 6:57
    ————————————————
    So what? Forensics show that the DNC computer was not hacked but that the WickiLeaks data was downloaded on an external storage device. This will come out now that the swamp creatures have been rooted out of their nests and burrows.
    ————————————————
    What forensics? AFAIK, no analysis of the DNC was performed except for that done by the firm hired by DNC, Crowdstrike. And, Crowdstrike revised their initial reports once other security experts called shenanigans. DNC refused to turn over the server to FBI. This seems like quite curious behavior if the organization was interested in determining what exactly happened.

    Bruce

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 26, 2017 at 12:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Bruce, see Consortium News .com :

      Intel Vets Challenge ‘Russia Hack’ Evidence
      July 24, 2017.

      Or find the link to it through Steve McIntyre’s retweet.

  45. Posted Jul 26, 2017 at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    @ mpainter: thanks for pointing to the additional detail. Again, we’re agreeing that there has been no formal investigation of the DNC server, except whatever was done by Crowdstrike.

    RE: The “forensic analysis”. I’m not sure this is the correct term to use.
    What Forensicator has done is quite detailed analysis. It may involve processes that “official” forensic investigators would use if they did not have physical access to the machine. It may even be correct! That’s not the same as having an official FBI investigation that includes physical access to the machine. Absent having that type of investigation, there will continue to be opportunities for the story to be about “Russian hacking”.

    Again, it seems quite unusual that DNC wasn’t interested in allowing anyone other than Crowdstrike to conduct an assessment of the physical device. One must wonder at the rationale for the DNC’s position.

    • mpainter
      Posted Jul 26, 2017 at 3:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Six months into his first term and no examination yet of the DNC computer. And many other shortfalls to boot. No wonder that Trump is showing impatience with his Justice Department.

  46. TAG
    Posted Jul 27, 2017 at 4:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The “Fancy Bear” Russian hacking group used fake Facebook accounts in an attempt to gather information to be used hack the French election

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-cyber-france-facebook-spies-exclusive-idUSKBN1AC0EI


    About two dozen Facebook accounts were created to conduct surveillance on Macron campaign officials and others close to the centrist former financier as he sought to defeat far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen and other opponents in the two-round election, the sources said. Macron won in a landslide in May.

    • TAG
      Posted Jul 27, 2017 at 4:40 PM | Permalink | Reply


      Facebook employees noticed the efforts during the first round of the presidential election and traced them to tools used in the past by Russia’s GRU military intelligence unit, said the people, who spoke on condition they not be named because they were discussing sensitive government and private intelligence.

      • mpainter
        Posted Jul 27, 2017 at 4:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Unnamed “tools”, unnamed sources.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Jul 27, 2017 at 8:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

      From your own link: Mounir Mahjoubi, who was digital director of Macron’s political movement, En Marche, and is now a junior minister for digital issues in his government, told Reuters in May that some security experts blamed the GRU specifically, though they had no proof.

      No proof.

      Could be Ukrainian effort to blacken Putin, etc.

      • TAG
        Posted Jul 28, 2017 at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

        No proof.

        Could be Ukrainian effort to blacken Putin, etc.

        From the story

        Facebook employees noticed the efforts during the first round of the presidential election and traced them to tools used in the past by Russia’s GRU military intelligence unit, said the people, who spoke on condition they not be named because they were discussing sensitive government and private intelligence.

  47. TAG
    Posted Jul 30, 2017 at 6:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From an Axios story that indicates that Trump will begin advocating for tax reform this week:

    Trump was never authentically enthusiastic, or even particularly knowledgeable, about repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Republican senators privately joke about Trump’s substance-free phone calls to pitch them. “It’s gonna be great,” he’d tell senators, before riffing about how “the pools” (risk pools) would solve everything. But the President is authentically excited about tax reform, so we’ll see if his salesmanship is more effective here.

  48. TAG
    Posted Aug 1, 2017 at 4:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    A UK prankster demonstrated the level of Email security that is now prevalent

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/31/politics/white-house-officials-tricked-by-email-prankster/index.html

    • TAG
      Posted Aug 1, 2017 at 8:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

      In regard to the issue of secure servers and encrypted channels, the security expert that I worked with insisted that perimeter protections such as these were not as important as the robustness of the applications that were behind them. The ease with which this prank was accomplished emphasizes that principle. Confidential information was revealed in these interactions. Internal systems were made vulnerable to malware.

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 2, 2017 at 4:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

        There has been much written here about the vulnerability of Clinton’s email server. What about the Whitehouse server as shown in this incident? It appears to ahve no way of detecting spearphishing.

      • mpainter
        Posted Aug 2, 2017 at 4:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Trump has views on cyber security: “You know, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way. Because I’ll tell you what: No computer is safe,” Trump told reporters during his annual New Year’s Eve bash. “I don’t care what they say.”

        Trump doesn’t like email. CNN does their best to discredit Trump. Do you like CNN?

      • MrPete
        Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 4:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

        There is an “air gap” between all of these internet-facing systems, and systems containing classified information.

        The whole point of the Clinton scandal is that she and her team played fast and loose with classified information, purposely crossing the air gap with it to use civilian systems for classified communication.

  49. AntonyIndia
    Posted Aug 1, 2017 at 11:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    About the FBI under Comey: remember Huma Abedin, the Saudi Arabia raised close assistant of HRC? Her family had close links with Islamists, but she was never long in the spotlight with the FBI or MSN. No need for untraceable hacks, info is all easily on record: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn-SUYdU8lQ

  50. jddohio
    Posted Aug 1, 2017 at 11:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If I didn’t know the way that Washington worked, I would say this has to be a joke. Latest hire by Mueller:

    “Most recently [Greg Andres] a white-collar criminal defense lawyer with New York law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, Andres, 50, served at the Justice Department from 2010 to 2012. He was deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division, [worked for Obama] where he oversaw the fraud unit and managed the program that targeted illegal foreign bribery….
    He is married to Ronnie Abrams, a U.S. district judge in Manhattan nominated to the bench in 2011 by Democratic President Barack Obama.”
    See http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-lawyer-exclusive-idUSKBN1AH5F9
    ….
    Apparently, Mueller can’t find qualified non-political Attorneys and on top of that he can’t find Attorneys who aren’t Democrats. If he was really conducting an objective investigation, he would never hire people like this who are intimately connected to Obama and the Democrats. It should also be noted that Mueller was the head of the Justice Department unit that improperly (according to 9-0 Supreme Court decision) put Arthur Anderson out of business.

    JD

    • JTK551
      Posted Aug 3, 2017 at 10:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

      http://www.npr.org/2017/07/27/539520987/fact-check-gingrich-misleads-for-trump-in-npr-interview-with-claims-of-bias

      “Robert Mueller has hired a number of lawyers. It is true that some of them have donated to Democrats. At least one has donated to Republicans, too. But Rachel, an important point of context here — even key Republican figures on Capitol Hill, like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, have said he does not believe political donations pose a conflict of interest. And in any event, Justice Department policies prohibit lawyers from looking at the donation history when they make hiring decisions.”

      Indeed, the problem with the Trump supporters’ claims of “conflict of interest” based merely on political affiliation, is that the DOJ itself is headed by several political appointees. Can they never investigate and prosecute Democrats?

      • Posted Aug 3, 2017 at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

        JTK551, your question ignores the most palatable alternative which is of having a balanced investigation. Mueller should be investigating the unmasking and White House surveillance of the Trump campaign and the illegal leaks as much as the alleged Russian meddling or Trump-Russia connections.

      • mpainter
        Posted Aug 3, 2017 at 11:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

        JTK, you are an innocent, citing Senator Graham the erstwhile presidential candidate. Who would expect that anyone in his position, having accepted $millions in donations, to say anything to the contrary. That would have caused for a national uproar.
        Imagine: “No question, accepting campaign money can lead to conflicts of interest. One must realize that political obligations must not be ignored. It’s part of politics.”

      • jddohio
        Posted Aug 3, 2017 at 4:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

        JTK “Indeed, the problem with the Trump supporters’ claims of “conflict of interest” based merely on political affiliation, is that the DOJ itself is headed by several political appointees. Can they never investigate and prosecute Democrats?”

        You miss the point on every level. A Republican AG has the right to investigate Democrats. The whole point of a recusal (by Sessions) is to take politics out of the issue and have some objectivity. Mueller, who was appointed to take politics out of the issue is injecting politics into it. Lawyers, judges, and prosecutors all have biases and act upon them. The idea that someone who worked under Eric Holder (an absolutely terrible AG — I can expound on this if you want)and whose wife was appointed a federal judge by Obama (one of the absolute biggest plums in the federal government)can give Trump a fair shake is ludicrous. There are many, many prosecutors and Attorneys with no preconceived biases that could be hired, but Mueller is stacking the deck and doing so flagrantly and arrogantly.

        JD

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 4, 2017 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

          whose wife was appointed a federal judge by Obama (one of the absolute biggest plums in the federal government)can give Trump a fair shake is ludicrous.

          Could federal judges then give a fair shake to any politician accused of a crime. if a Trump cabinet member is accused of a crime could a federal judge appointed by Obama give them a fair trial

      • mpainter
        Posted Aug 4, 2017 at 5:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

        JTK quotes: “at least one has donated to Republicans”

        #####
        Donated to which Republican? Because many hate Trump and don’t try to hide it. Some are in Congress and there’s always the Bush crowd. These count the same as Democrats, politically. Trump haters.

    • Posted Aug 3, 2017 at 10:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

      For how much G W Bush was painted as a staunch conservative he certainly appointed a lot of liberals, like Mueller and his deputy Comey, to important posts. I suppose to hire from within it’s pretty hard not to appoint liberals since those in government tend to be for bigger government. The swamp.

    • TAG
      Posted Aug 3, 2017 at 1:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I would suppose that this concern about the affiliations of the Mueller investigation personnel echoes Comey’s concern about Trump’s demand for loyalty. The Department of Justice must be run at arms-length from the political aspect of the government and the presidency in particular. Both Comey and Sessions understand this and have suffered as a result from Trump

  51. JTK551
    Posted Aug 3, 2017 at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    JTK551, your question ignores the most palatable alternative which is of having a balanced investigation.

    Have no idea what that means. There is NO evidence of the Obama WH surveilling the Trump campaign. And the DOJ is free to investigate it if they wish to. There is ONLY value in needing a special counsel to investigate the current administration, so that possible wrong doing doesn’t get swept under the rug.

    Do I think DJT and his campaign actively colluded with the Ruskies? Certainly not from the top. But there is a lot of evidence that has been systematically denied and obfuscated by Trump and associates. They are their own worst enemies, as many a Republican admits.

    And now you switch from “Democrats” to “liberals”. That would be an even more complex criteria on which to base selection. Is “liberal” another label for “people you don’t like today”?

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 3, 2017 at 8:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

      JTK: “many a Republican” is an enemy of Trump’s and has been from the start, so don’t put your faith in them.

      As far as evidence is concerned, I’ve seen none yet. It’s all talk and no substance so far. And Russian provocateurs sicced on Trump does not constitute evidence of collusion.

      Surveillance of Trump? Maybe. There is much to come out yet. The FBI just got a new Director. We shall see.

    • Posted Aug 3, 2017 at 11:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

      JTK551: “There is NO evidence of the Obama WH surveilling the Trump campaign.”

      Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats:,

      We have found evidence that current and former government officials had easy access to U.S. person information and that it is possible that they used this information to achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information.

      I suspect that the Obama administration found that any non-US citizen was open to be legally surveilled and all they had to do to technically use them as a walking bug was to make a written request to unmask the US citizens they talked to. Nunes found the number of requests to be in the hundreds and the reasons to be ill specified. National Security Adviser Susan Rice initially flatly denied she ordered unmasking, then admitted she did but denied she used it for political purposes but then refused requests to testify to the senate.

      As of three weeks ago the number of Obama WH staff ordering unmaskings reach more than a half-dozen beyond Rice, Brennan and Powers. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/17/more-obama-officials-scrutinized-in-unmasking-probe.html

      “Is “liberal” another label for “people you don’t like today?”

      You are correct that labels have baggage. Not because they are wrong but because they oversimplify and generalize in a way that can lead to offence and negative assumptions. I have liberal friends and family members and don’t consider every liberal a socialist or every socialist a Democrat. I happen to admire most of JFK’s political decisions despite that he was a Dem. My main beef is with the double standards created by the politicization of the news media, and other institutions, and ironically the very knee-jerk vilification. So you ask a very good question. I can’t help but think that the greatest evil is the breakdown in trust that occurs with vilification whether it be domestic rivals or foreign ones. It is the precursor in all wars. And I hope all are educated enough not to miss this.

  52. AntonyIndia
    Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Rod Rosenstein: By virtue of the authority vested in me as Acting Attorney General, including 28 U.S.C. §§ 509, 510, and 515, in order to discharge my responsibility
    to provide supervision and management of the Department
    of Justice, and to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian governments efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, I hereby order as follows:

    Why only Russian? Are for example the Saudis still above the law just as after 9/11 (no flying / report)?

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 10:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

      The assumption behind the order:

      “..and to ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian governments efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, I hereby order as follows:”

      is without any substance; there has been no Russian interference demonstrated except the the faulty CrowdStrike attribution. Whatever on earth was Rosenstein thinking of?

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 2:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

        there has been no Russian interference demonstrated except the the faulty CrowdStrike attribution

        Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, met with Sergei Lavrov, The Russian Foreign Minister, and stated that the Russian interference in the US elections. Tillerson stated that the told Lavrov that “”meddling in the elections is certainly a serious incident.” and that created serious mistrust between the US and Russia.

        Even the Secretary of State acknowledges Russian interference. The Secretary of Defence has previously indicated the same opinion. it is only Trump who refuses to accept it. Sometimes he acknowledges it and then a brief time later he disclaims it and brings up 400lb hackers yet again.

        What is it with Trump and Russia? It is a failed kleptocracy with an economy a 10th of the size of the US and dependent on export sales of oil and gas in a world with a glut of oil and gas. It’s only technology export appears to be computer malware. What is it with Trump and Russia. he will freely insult other countries and their leaders and thereby harm US interests. Yet when it comes to Russia, all is bliss. What can Russia offer the US that Europe, China, … cannot offer more?

        What is with Trump and Russia? That is the real mystery facing Mueller.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

          What evidence has Tillerson?

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 7:56 PM | Permalink

          What can Russia offer the US that Europe, … cannot offer more? ,/i>
          Russia, the US (+ Shia Iran / Irak) can offer the world a counter balance to Wahhabi Gulf oil/terrorism AND Chinese Xi regional bullying. The former group would have enough oil to defang religious fuelled violence and keep engines running. Long term gain vs. short term loss.

          The US shooting itself in the foot now is a Godsend to supreme leader Xi.

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

          Russia, the US (+ Shia Iran / Irak) can offer the world a counter balance to Wahhabi Gulf oil/terrorism AND Chinese Xi regional bullying. The former group would have enough oil to defang religious fuelled violence and keep engines running. Long term gain vs. short term loss.

          The basis of the Kushner/Trump plan to solve the Middle East political problem is to ally with the Sunni states to counter Shia Iran and to coerce the Palestinians into agreeing to a settlement with Israel. This does lead to the odd situation in which the Trump plan to solve the Syria/ISIS situation is to ally with Russia and Iran in the area. The US is allied with the Sunni States and the US is allied with the Shia states. Trump’s actions in the Middle East really puzzles me since he is aligning the US with both sides and not against the middle. He has conceded Iraq to Iran and Syria to Russia.

          To see how bizarre this is. He told the Lebanese president that the US is attacking Hezbollah as well as ISIS and Al Qaeda. Hezbollah is a part of the Lebanese government and is part of the Russian/Iranian coalition in Syria with which he has the US cooperating. Trump said he had a secret plan to defeat ISIS. If anyone can explain the rationale behind Trump’s plans in the Middle East, please tell me about them.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 10:44 PM | Permalink

          Trump talked at first anti Saudi; then Kushner got cozy with Netanyahu and derailed that track. Nethanyahu & co still don’t figure that Shia are a minority just like Jews and others in the ME and around.

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 5:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

        http://www.newsweek.com/russian-bots-attacking-republican-party-paul-ryan-mcmaster-breitbart-647528?utm_campaign=NewsweekFacebookSF&utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social

        What goes around comes around. It appears that Marco Rubio’s statement that Russia could attack Republicans as well as Democrats could well be true. Russian-linked twitter bots are attacking H. R. McMaster and paul Ryan

        • Follow the Money
          Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 8:23 PM | Permalink

          “Dashboard” —

          is that the latest resurrection of the “Prop or Not” crazies? Finding a Russian under every search term?

          Their stats-like inferences make the treemometer people look relatively logical.

  53. mpainter
    Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 9:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    TAG: “If anyone can explain the rationale behind Trump’s plans in the Middle East, please tell me about them.”

    ###

    Trump’s ultimate aim is against the present regime in Iran and it’s ambitions in the region. This means destroying Hezbollah and Iranian influence with the Syrian Baathist party which means maneuvering in a complex situation which complexity defies easy description. Those who seek to simplify it in terms of good vs evil will inevitably present a distorted view of affairs.

    I agree that Iran is the greatest threat to the region and now we see their connection with North Korea being exposed. Trump will resolve the Iran problem. Putin will stay out of this fight because Trump’s diplomacy will neutralize him. China pretends to meddle but they are fixing to have their plate filled in the East. Tillerson will be replaced, imo.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 8:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Iran is the greatest threat in the region?
      Only in Nethanyahu logic. Shia Iranians armoured with <=1 nuclear bombs are a minority just like the Jews. Next door Sunni Pakistan has ~150 nuclear weapons plus fast a home delivery contract with financier Sunni Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan, Egypt and Turkey are some of the other populous Sunni neighbours. Plenty more in Asia and north Africa.
      Connection to North Korea? You got Iran mixed up with Pakistan: they bartered long range missiles for nuclear bomb technology years ago.

  54. Posted Aug 7, 2017 at 11:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    TAG: “It’s only technology export appears to be computer malware.” And also arms.

    Russia is still the world’s most expansionist power and US’s primary geopolitical military rival. China is next militarily although first economically. But since they are dependent on western exports they do not want to overtake Russia as chief adversary.

    TAG: “If anyone can explain the rationale behind Trump’s plans in the Middle East, please tell me about them.”

    The policy is pretty much the same as in past except with Iran, for example, Trump may give a handshake to fight ISIS in the morning and a kick in the Hezbollah by afternoon. Qatar may think they are a firm US allay because they host a US military base but that does not stop sanctions for funding terrorists. Nobody gets a free pass. Warnings are short. US energy independence may be part of the equation. While all are walking on eggshells a Palestinian settlement opportunity may be forming.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 8:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Russia is still the world’s most expansionist power
      That is what you believe but this notion cannot be supported by facts. Except for Syria where is Putin expanding? Xi is busy in the South China sea, the southern Himalayan border, in Pakistan, in Myanmar, Sri Lanka etc. The Pentagon is busy everywhere, mostly in the ME, Afghanistan and Europe.

      • Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 1:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Antony, I assume you are claiming China’s actions exceed the 2008 Georgian invasion and 2014-present Crimea annexation and Ukrainian semi-covert invasion. China manages to make fewer bold headlines by not using tanks. Also, western sensitivities to damaging trade relations with China mutes some criticism to a degree certainly.

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

          Add the Estonian cyberattack to Russian aggression. They aso used in in their invasion of Georgia.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 11:29 PM | Permalink

          The Warsaw pact was dissolved in 1991; NATO wasn’t. Many East European nations joined NATO. For some in the Washington etc. that was not enough. The presidents of Georgia and Ukraine at one point in time tried to become a members of NATO too, after being encouraged by the West. Compare that to first Cuba, Costa Rica, Nicaragua etc. joining CSTO and later Mexico and Canada applying too. The distance from Ukraine or Latvia to Moscow is ~ 500km.
          Russia has little economic power.
          Xi took Hong Kong and is always threatening Taiwan. Now he reaches 2-4000 kms from Beijing to non-Chinese speaking independent areas. PR China also has huge economic power.

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 9, 2017 at 3:26 AM | Permalink

          The Warsaw pact was dissolved in 1991; NATO wasn’t. Many East European nations joined NATO. For some in the Washington etc. that was not enough.

          Why should the people of Eastern Europe be subject to Russian paranoia. I have heard some Princeton professor on Fox News claiming that St. Petersburg is within range of NATO artillery. My thought for his point was “So what.” Why should hundreds of millions of people be subject to the Russian government and its corruption?

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Aug 10, 2017 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

          So NATO artillery can stand close to St. Petersburg, but USSR rockets could not be allowed on Cuba?
          Not exactly applying the Golden Rule there, which even Jesus himself emphasized.
          I wouldn’t bring corruption in a geo-political/military confrontation. Authoritarianism: Xi wins hands down.

        • Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

          Antony, many political arguments based on moral equivalency are full of hidden assumptions.

          1) Geopolitical influence by economic might and trade is not equivalent to influence based on massive mechanized armies and pointed ICBMs.

          2) Nuclear tipped ICBMs are not equivalent to conventional artillery shells.

          3) WMD in the hands of the US, France and UK is not the same as in the hands of Iran and N Korea, which is not the same as in the hands of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

  55. TAG
    Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 3:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Donad John Trump states:

    “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen… he has been very threatening beyond a normal state. They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before,”

    I have written on this blog before of my experience and the experience of others during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I can remember during my homework and wondering if I would be alive to turn it in. I remember walking to school and wondering if I would be alive to walk home. In that crisis, the US was lead by President John Kennedy. Kennedy kept his head and rejected the advice of his generals who wanted to attack Cuba. They estimated that civilian deaths in the US would be in the tens of millions. Kennedy was a great president and was able to prevent war. Khrushchev was similarly able to restrain forces on the Soviet side. Fidel Castro wanted a war. The world survived October 1962.

    Today, the world does not have a John Kennedy. It has a Donald John Trump. God help us all.

    =======================

    In 1962, Kennedy gave a speech at American University. Here is a portion:

    I have, therefore, chosen this time and this place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived–yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.
    What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children–not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women–not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.

    I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age when great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age when a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all of the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.
    Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need to use them is essential to keeping the peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles–which can only destroy and never create–is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace.

    I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary rational end of rational men. I realize that the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war–and frequently the words of the pursuer fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

    Donald John Trump has made a claim repeatedly that this or that speech of his was the greatest ever given on some or other occasion. Does anyone think that he is capable of giving a speech like teh one Kennedy gave at that university commencement on 1962.

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 4:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Kennedy is a blot on U.S. history. His father was a prohibition era rum runner. JFK was a licentious sexual escapader as were all of the Kennedy men. Even the Catholic Church does not uphold that clan. Thanks to a weak, fretful JFK Cuba is still under the Castro bootheel.

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 6:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

        For what it is worth, here are some portions of President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address. It is the Military-Industrial Complex speech but it also teh speech where he spoke of an America in a world getting smaller, a world which he states must be “a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect”

        A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

        Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

        This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

        In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

        Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

        Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war — as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years — I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

        Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But, so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

        Compare this to Donald John Trump’s “American Carnage” speech and his “Fire and Fury” bluster.

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 9, 2017 at 3:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I tried to post a portion of President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address but it was caught up in moderation. Anyway here is the short relevant passage from it

        Down the long lane of the history yet to be written America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

        Compare this to Donald John Trump’s “American Carnage” speech and his “Fire and Fury” bluster.

        Generals were on the panel shows lat night decrying Trump’s “Fire and Fury” blister as bluster that eliminated options. One can see from his address that President Eisenhower as a General of the Army was someone who know not to eliminate options.

      • Joe
        Posted Aug 9, 2017 at 8:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

        But Cuba is the communist paradise
        everyone has free health care, longer live expectancy, high literacy rates, etc.
        (sarc)

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 2:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

        I found this in an extract from Ted Sorenson’s biography of Kennedy. Kennedy is described as often referring to a passage from Barbara Tuchman’s book on the origins of WW1 “The Guns of August”

        the 1914 conversation between two German leaders on the origins and expansion of that war, a former chancellor asking “How did it all happen?” and his successor saying , “Ah, if only one knew.” “If this planet,” said President Kennedy, “is ever ravaged by nuclear war—if the survivors of that devastation can then endure the fire, poison, chaos and catastrophe—I do not want one of these survivors to ask another, ‘How did it all happen?’ and to receive the incredible reply: ‘Ah, if only one knew.’”

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

          What a load of baloney. Sorensen gives no cites, names, but only quotes. Two German chancellors weeping in their beer, Ted Sorensen style. Whew! And you believe it, TAG. Kennedy sure made a lot of quotable statements while rummaging around in the rear end of Marilyn Monroe, gosh gee.

    • mrmethane
      Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 4:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It wouldn’t matter WHAT he said, the MSM would crucify him.
      Why making money in real estate is less moral than rum running, escapes me.
      Ahh, Trump’s not a Democrat!

    • Posted Aug 8, 2017 at 9:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “In 1962, Kennedy gave a speech at American University…”

      This speech was actually June 10, 1963, nine months after the missiles of October and five months before Dallas. JFK was a brilliant in that his ideology was not his religion — it could evolve with lessons learned. For example, clearly he understood by 1963 that perceived weakness was provocative to aggressors. There would have been no missiles of October if JFK of 1963 was president in 1961 and 1962.

      Trump’s brand of crazy may be exactly what is needed to clean house at home and abroad.

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 9, 2017 at 9:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Trump’s brand of crazy may be exactly what is needed to clean house at home and abroad.

        LLoyd Bentson said to Dan Quayle “Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy” and one can also quite easily say “Donald John Trump is no Jack Kennedy”. Today the news has commentary about taking Trump’s threat to North Korea seriously but not literally. The politician in charge of nuclear weapons, whose words can start a nuclear war or a conventional war in which a city of over 20 million people is in range of massive amounts of artillery, has people questioning whether his words mean something or not. In 1962, the world had Jack Kennedy who restrained the forces of war. Today the world has Donald Trump a man whose rhetoric is full of bluster, bombast and hyperbole but of no content.

        Trump’s brand of crazy can start a war in which millions of people will be killed. I saw Lt. Gen. Hertling on CNN this morning. He described the results of the war games he participated in in Korea. He said that the amount of death and destruction could not be overstated. I saw Gen. McCaffrey on CNN last night. he stated that that Trump’s words were hasty and ill thought out. John McCain said much the same thing. Trump’s brand of crazy can get us all killed.

        I’ve tried to place a few sections form President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address in a comment but it appears to trigger moderation. However, I can say that Eisenhower would not be considered to “have some brand of crazy”. he was someone who had seen what war could do and wanted a world in which disputes would not go into that form of madness. Eisenhower had no “brand of crazy”. Kennedy had no “band of crazy”. These were great men. In their day, they kept us out of war.

        Today we have Donald John Trump.

    • miker613
      Posted Aug 9, 2017 at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

      You didn’t mention Bill Clinton’s comments about NORK nukes.
      http://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/13/world/clinton-s-warning-irks-north-korea.html
      “It would mean the end of their country as they know it”

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 9, 2017 at 4:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Trump set a red kine at any more threats. The North Koreans then threatened to attack Guam and the US mainland. Obama demonstrated how much damage vacuous red lines can do. T^rump criticized him for it. Now Trump doubles down in spades. NK called his bluff. The grown up, Mattis and Tillerson, now have to restrain the situation. Mattis states that NK must “cease any consideration of actions that would lead to the end of its regime and destruction of its people”. Notice the link to actions not empty rhetoric. Tillerson then states that there is no sign that the threat level from NK has changed and that people should sleep well at night. The grownups pull back the rhetoric away from Hollywood matinee threats of war

  56. TAG
    Posted Aug 10, 2017 at 9:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Trump stated:

    “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” … “They will be met with fire, fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

    North Korea stated in response that Trump :

    “let out a load of nonsense about ‘fire and fury,'”

    and of:

    “failing to grasp the on-going grave situation.”

    North Korea also described a plan to fire four missiles in the direction of Guam and encircle the island with them.

    What is going to happen now?

    • TAG
      Posted Aug 10, 2017 at 9:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

      In answer to my question about what might happen, Trump retweeted this

      The Five‏Verified account @TheFive 13h13 hours ago
      More
      “@POTUS being unpredictable is a big asset, North Korea knew exactly what President Obama was going to do.”

      The President of the United States in the midst of a crisis involving nuclear weapons and the possibility of a massive land war retweets commentary from a Fox News early evening program. We have entered a bizarro world.

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 10, 2017 at 12:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “What’s going to happen now?”
      ###

      Trump will make good on another campaign promise. He understands why we hired him. But first he will issue an ultimatum.

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 10, 2017 at 3:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

        The “Fire and Fury” statement was an ultimatum.

        Recall “They will be met with fire and fury like teh world has never seen before” if they make any more threats. North Korea hasmade multiple threats since then.

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 10, 2017 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

          Trump now says that he “Fire and Fury” ultimatum is maybe not enough and will not rule out preemptive military action. Trump is well on his way of blundering the US into a war that will kill millions of people and destroy the economy. But we don’t have to worry because he also says that the people of the US and its allies are “safe”.

          One can only marvel at someone who has no understanding that this is not a golf match and there are no mulligans or gimmes. he doesn’t own the world and he can’t drive golf carts on the green. People are going to die because of his blundering.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 7:55 AM | Permalink

          You will be a busy fellow, TAG. The U.S. again challenged the China claims in the Spratlys, sending the destroyer USS John McCain (such a Puckish sense of humor has our Hero in the WH) on a freedom of navigation patrol there. China claimed a violation of its sovereignty. So you need to add about 200 million more to your make-believe bill of mortality. Lots of hand-wringing to be done.

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

          The Global Times is a state owned newspaper in China. It has an editorial today concerning the situation. Among other things, it states that:

          “It needs to make clear its stance to all sides and make them understand that when their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand. China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral. If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

          The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily which is an organ of the Communist Party. the editorial is to be taken seriously but it is not necessarily official government policy. However, at face value, China is stating that it will not allow the US to overthrow the Kim regime. China is threatening war with the US if that occurs. Note that this threat is done at arm’s length from official government sources so there is a level of deniability. China knows how to make threats so as to be able to back off from them unlike Trump.

          So, it comes to this. If Trump launces fifty-nine cruise missiles into North Korea, as he did in Syria, the result will be the same as there. Thee Syrian airbase was in operation the next day. Fifty-nine cruise missiles or any other form of punitive attack will not change the situation. North Korea has the technology to build the missiles and if the current ones are destroyed, they will build more. Punitive attacks will change nothing.

          However, if Trump decides to invade North Korea then China will respond and we will be in a world war with a country that has ICBMs with nuclear warheads that can hit any target in the US.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

          You need to wring them a little bit harder, if you want to save the planet earth from Trump. The Chinese will take out the west coast first. What’s not to like about that?

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

          Angela Merkel was asked is Germany would “stand by the U.S. in case of war,” She made no explicit reply but said “I consider an escalation of rhetoric the wrong answer.”. Her foreign minister said “like in World War I, we will sleepwalk into war. Only this time it might be a nuclear war.”. He compared Trump’s rhetoric to that of Kim Jong Un. One can interpret this lack of support for Trump as very telling about the effectiveness and insightfulness of his foreign policy

          Will the grownups please take control of this very dangerous situation.

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

          First Trump will nuke North Korea and then he will nuke Germany, if that Merkel don’t button her lip.

          Don’t worry about China, it lacks first strike capability against us due to our missile defense systems. But we have first strike capability against them so maybe Trump will take care of China, too.

        • Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

          mpainter, I think you are deriving pleasure out of baiting TAG. You should ease up – have a heart. He already has hands in the air, ready to surrender to anyone or anything (except the acknowledgment of Trump’s command of the US). He may claim he is frantic to think about the destruction of humanity but you and I know the real fret is that a nuke detonation would cause massive global cooling, in which case Exxon would be off the hook.

  57. TAG
    Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 7:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Trump is now expanding his military threats to include Venezuela.

    There were posters back in the 60s that said “Suppose they gave a war and nobody came”. That seems appropriate to Trump’s Venezuela threat since the Pentagon knows nothing about it. They refer all questions to the White House.

    I think it would be good form for trump to actually tell the Pentagon before Trump leads the charge into Venezuela.

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 12, 2017 at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Venezuela will give Trump a foothold on South America and we can reach Tierra del Fuego by next year. Trump will no doubt root out all the Castro supporters, global warmers and such. With its natural resources, that continent will prove a big boost to the U.S. economy. Venezuela alone has several trillion bbls of heavy crude and also the world’s richest and largest reserves of iron ore. That iron ore will help re-revitalize the U.S. steel industry. How about that Trump!

  58. mpainter
    Posted Aug 11, 2017 at 9:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Trump just spoke with Xi on the telephone. He probably said something like: “You’ve had plenty of chance to effect a peaceful solution and you did nothing. Stand clear, this is not your fight.”

    And Xi will stand clear because he wants none of Trump.

  59. TAG
    Posted Aug 12, 2017 at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The most dangerous part of the current situation is that Trump is enjoying himself. Take the example of the health care fiasco. Trump found that governing is very hard work. There actually has to be a health care bill before the Congress can pass it and for that Trump would have to know something about health care and that would take hard work. Axios reported that senators were remarking about the content-free telephone that Trump made to them about it. He really didn’t know anything about it.

    So since Trump has discovered that governing is very hard work and requires discipline and diligence, he has reverted to campaigning. This is plainly evident in the last few days at Bedminster. After being aloof from the press for months, he has had extensive sessions with them and has scheduled a full press conference for next week. He can conduct a Trump campaign full of insults and bluster. He needs enemies to rail against. He has created conflict with both North Korea and the Republican Party. He has insulted and belittled Mitch McConnell. His Secretary of Défense and Secretary of State must clean up the messes he makes regarding North Korea. Trump is back campaigning and being Trump. Trump is enjoying himself. He can insult and bluster all that he wants.

    The North Korea aspect of this makes it dangerous. However, one benefit of this is that Congress could move in to fill the governing gap. Mitch McConnel and Paul Ryan could fill the leadership vacuum and start bringing legislation together. Trump could become what he really wants to be. The figurehead who can come in after all the hard work has been done to sign the bills and take credit Trump has said that he wants his old life back. He has found a way to have it. He can enjoy himself again.

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 12, 2017 at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Goodness, how you hate Trump.

    • Posted Aug 13, 2017 at 2:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

      For those outside the US who are reading this TAG’s view is actually supported by our oldest and most respected newspapers and television news. Their consensus is that racism is a major force driving American life. Those of us US citizens and legal residents who believe that freedom and opportunity are the driving forces are now called racists. Anyone who speaks about race without condemning middle-aged white male domination is a racist. Anyone who does not speak about race is a racist. Since middle-aged white males have dominated the US Presidency and Congressional leadership (before recently) American policy, both foreign and domestic, is tainted.

      Taking TAG’s explanation of the N Korean tensions, for example, would have an uniformed school child believe that Trump and American foreign policy are the real root of the causes of tensions with N Korea. (Even if he does not ascribe to that belief his writing would support it.) I find it Ironic that TAG is such a fan of JFK when the assumption in his writing are almost identical to JFK’s assassin, Lee H. Oswald. Also, come to think of it, the preponderance of Democrats now are pro-Palestinian, RFK’s assassin’s cause.

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 14, 2017 at 1:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Xi of China has just announced the implementation of U.N. sanctions against North Korea. Eight months into his first term Trump has achieved what has not been achieved by forty years of previous administrations.

      Trump’s methods are working and this is what really makes the TAG’s of this world seeth with rancor and hate because they realize that his successes only increase his power and longevity.

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 14, 2017 at 4:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctions_against_North_Korea

        Wikipedia article listing the numerous sanctions implemented against North Korea in previous years.

      • mpainter
        Posted Aug 14, 2017 at 5:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

        U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley praised the resolution, calling it “the single largest economic sanctions passage” against Pyongyang.

        However, she cautioned other council members that sanctions were not enough: “We should not fool ourselves into thinking we have solved the problem, not even close.”

        #####

        Trump has got China tame as a kitten. He’ll nuke North Korea if need be and China will do nothing. Don’t you just hate it, TAG?

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 14, 2017 at 7:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It’s closer than you might imagine, TAG. Best not gaze skyward lest your retinas be seared by a sudden, blinding flash.

      Here’s what you should do: 1. Find a fallout shelter.
      2. Sit on the floor in a crouch, with your knees drawn up to your chin. 3. Tuck your head between your knees with your arms folded over your skull. 4. Kiss your ass goodbye.

  60. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 14, 2017 at 6:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ron Graf, “Their consensus is that racism is a major force driving American life.

    This view follows from Critical Race Theory, a subjectivist Sociological construct that starts out asserting that the American society is inherently, permanently, and irremediably racist.

    This stain derives from the Anglo-Saxon origins of the US, and of which all subsequent minority immigrant populations are innocent.

    Like all theorizing coming from academic Humanities, Critical Race Theory does not rise even to equivocal, assumes what it ought to prove, and within which every study is confirmatory.

    In many ways, consensus AGW theorizing is a very good analogy of Critical Theory. It assumes what should be proved (CO2 emissions will strongly warm the atmosphere), it is at least equivocal (“precision” means “accuracy”), and every study is confirmatory (IPCC).

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 14, 2017 at 8:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

      “Every study is confirmatory”
      ###

      This distinguishes the AGW cult from true science. There is no critical thought, no analysis, no search for truth, but only confirmation heaped on top of confirmation. In short, propagation of the faith presented in the guise of science, not real scientific inquiry. They do not understand the difference.

  61. TAG
    Posted Aug 22, 2017 at 10:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/north-korea/2017-08-22/take-preventive-war-north-korea-table?cid=cid%3Dsoc_facebook_delury_preventive_war_North_Korea_082217

    Foreign Affairs magazine has placed an article outside of its paywall on the issue of a preventative war with North Korea. The theme of the article is that Trump’s “strategic accountability” doctrine is much the same as Obama’s “strategic patience” doctrine in their reliance on China to pressure teh Kim regime. The primary difference between administrations is Trump’s rhetoric about a preventative war which is being normalized in public discourse about the issue. The article notes that the US has stumbled into wars that it soon regrets and that this could be one of them.

    Foreign Affairs magazine is in the realist school of policy.

  62. TAG
    Posted Aug 26, 2017 at 1:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I took these quotations from a recent article in “Foreign Affairs” magazine. There has been talk of North Korea backing down from its nuclear ambitions in the face of Trump’s talk. However, yesterday North Korea launched three missiles. These quotations seemed appropriate to the current situation between the US as embodied by Trump and North Korea as embodied by Kim Jong-un
    John F. Kennedy

    “Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or nuclear war.”

    Sun-tzu

    “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

    • Pat Frank
      Posted Aug 27, 2017 at 1:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

      My brother subscribed to Foreign Affairs until recently. He had just sent in the dues when the current issue arrived.

      He said with that issue Foreign Affairs had degenerated into a partisan rag. So, he stopped payment on his check, and stopped subscribing.

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 27, 2017 at 1:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

        ‘Foreign Affairs’ placed an article outside of its paywall a few days ago. The theme of the article is that Trump’s “strategic accountability” doctrine is much the same as Obama’s “strategic patience” doctrine in their reliance on China to pressure the Kim regime. The primary difference between administrations is Trump’s rhetoric about a preventative war which is being normalized in public discourse about the issue. The article notes that the US has stumbled into wars that it soon regrets and that this could be one of them.

        Foreign Affairs is not partisan. it is a journal which publishes articles from the point of view of the realist school of foreign policy. Note that this is the school which Tillerson implies that he follows. It is the school which emphasizes the national interest over principles.

        The URL for the article apparently triggers the moderation filter for this site.

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 9:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

        The significance of the quotes, or at least my intention in them, was that mutual ignorance and suspicion can cause both sides to stumble into a war that neither side wants. I remember listening to a politician once who was noted fro his ability to resolve labor disputes. He spoke of strikes that occurred despite the wishes of both labor and management

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

          That would be possible under any US president, TAG. Not just DT. The locus of the problem is North Korea.

          Rudolph Rummel’s work on Peace, War, and Democide showed that democracies rarely go to war with one another. The problem of war is with tyrannies.

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 1:58 PM | Permalink

          That would be possible under any US president,

          In that I agree with you.

          Kennedy was unprepared in the Vienna summit and so Khrushchev misjudged him. That led to the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. In the Berlin Crisis, fully armed Soviet and American tanks faced each other at the wall. Time magazine had the observation that the decision to go to war was taken out of the hands of the politicians and the marshals and generals at their map tables. it was in the control of the lieutenants and sergeants who commanded those tanks on both sides of that wall.. We can only be thankful that a truck did not backfire during the standoff and start the process that would launch the ICBMs.

          During the Cuban missile crisis, the generals wanted to attack on the US side and on the Soviet side Castro was eager for a war. To get around the generals, Kennedy went outside of the chain of command and had aides speak privately to the pilots who were flying reconnaissance missions over Cuba. They were asked not to report any damage from Cuban anti-aircraft fire because if there were any damage the generals would insist on retaliation and that would lead to WW3. One flight commander came back with AA damage to his aircraft. he reported that they had struck a flock of birds. One U2 was shot down just before the deadline. Kennedy was able to get the generals to agree to wait until the planned attack for the retaliation.

          On the Soviet side, one nuclear submarine was shadowing the ships bringing the missiles. This was detected by the US. Depth charges were dropped in patterns around the submarine with the intention to bring it to the surface. This was misinterpreted on the submarine to mean that they were under direct attack and that war had begun. Their orders in that case were to use a nuclear tipped torpedo. Three officers were required to concur on this in the Soviet nuclear practice. The captain and the second-in-command concurred. The political officer did not and prevented the start of WW3.

          One Soviet officer prevented us from killing millions of people and destroying our civilization. As Khrushchev observed, the living would envy the dead.

          So yes, the requirement to be prudent and prepared and in that to understand both sides is incumbent on any US president.

          Kennedy is dead now. He learned because he almost started WW3 in Berlin and Cuba. Trump is the president now. He has demonstrated none of the required properties of prudence, preparation and understanding. He is incurious and overconfident in his abilities.

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

          He has demonstrated none of the required properties of prudence, preparation and understanding. He is incurious and overconfident in his abilities.

          I expect you’re not in a position to avow that with actual knowledge, TAG.

          I also think that your descriptions of accidental starts to WWIII are too facile. I believe individual incidents would not necessarily induce war; even serious ones.

          Likewise, the idea that generals alone could stampede a president into war does not ring credible to me.

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

          I also think that your descriptions of accidental starts to WWIII are too facile

          The American tanks in the standoff at the Berlin Wall were given orders that they were to return fire if fired upon. So Time magazine was correct in its observation. It was a collection of lieutenants to whose judgement the commencement of WW# were individually given.

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

          http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/28/asia/north-korea-missile-test/index.html

          The South Korean National Intelligence Service has informed its parliament that there are indications that North Korea is preparing for another nuclear test. All parties in this should take the observations by JFK and Sun-tzu very seriously. Things may happen in ways that they do not expect

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

          An exchange of tank fire at Berlin need not have caused WWIII, TAG, any more than did the U2 overflights and downing, or when the USSR deliberately shot down KAL flight 007.

          There’s more inertia to these things than you allow.

          On the other hand, the behavior of NK is dependent on Kim Jong Un’s gastric comfort. He’s murdered every moderating voice in his entourage. The danger is there, not in Washington, and certainly not with DT.

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

          Likewise, the idea that generals alone could stampede a president into war does not ring credible to me.

          As I indicated earlier, Kennedy bypassed the chain of command to prevent the reporting of damage to surveillance aircraft to prevent the generals ordering retaliatory action. Kennedy was seriously concerned with the generals creating the conditions for a war.

    • Frank
      Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 1:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

      TAG quotes JFK: “Above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or nuclear war.”

      Donald Trump has made it clear that he believes continuation of NK’s ICBM program would be a humiliating retreat for the US. Does that mean that KJU must back down to avert the risk of nuclear war?

      Khrushchev had publicly promised Kennedy the military build up in Cuba in 1962 was strictly defensive in nature. Accepting deployment IRBMs clearly would have been a humiliating defeat for JFK. Did that mean the Khrushchev was obligated not to inflict such a humiliation on JFK and the US?

      Or are you saying that only civilized leaders from Western democracies are expected to follow JFK’s rules?

      The civilized Obama backed down in NK, Crimea, Ukraine, Iran, Syria and Iraq; and didn’t persist until victory in Afghanistan and Libya. Which is one of the main reasons why the American people elected Trump to “Win” and “Make America Great Again”. Face reality, JFK’s weakness certainly led to the Cuban Missile Crisis and Obama’s (and his predecessors’) weakness has brought us to today’s NK crisis.

      Everyone – including the NKs – should know that that the artillery threat to Seoul has made a pre-emptive attack on NK impractical for more then a half century. In recent decades, NK has added chemical, biological and nuclear weapons that can reach all of Korea, Japan and other allies. NK does need ICBMs to deter a pre-emptory attack by the US. In fact, the threat makes a pre-emptive attack MORE LIKELY because the threat to the mainland US is so serious. NK needs that threat to deter US commitment to continue to defend South Korea from a possible attack by the North.

  63. mpainter
    Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Who is stumbling? Not Trump. He has made it clear that war is an option. Trump is not negotiating, he is coercing. No stumbling to it. North will abandon its weapons program or get clobbered. I think Trump should have let fat boy fire a missile at Guam, an act of war and justification for retaliation. Trump missed his chance to resolve the problem, imo.

  64. mpainter
    Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    TAG, you are a fearful exaggerator. The U.S. and the Soviet Union never came close to war, ever. The Soviets knew that they could not match U.S. missile accuracy and that they stood no chance in a nuclear war. Accordingly,they at all times sought to avoid war. This led to detente under Nixon. The first attempt by Khrushchev and Eisenhower fizzled due to the U-2 incident. Your attempts to spin history in support of your Trump-bashing are rather transparent.

    Concerning Kennedy, his conclusion of the deal with Kruschev whereby the Castro bootheel has been perpetuated on Cuba is a shameful episode in U.S. history, your effusion of Sorenson style rhetoric notwithstanding.

  65. mpainter
    Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 3:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From Wikipedia: Before the crisis, the U.S. had been stalking and documenting most Soviet submarines.[30] During the crisis, the U.S. imposed a blockade to eradicate all Soviet presence in the Caribbean Sea. A dangerous incident may have occurred on Soviet submarine B-59,[31] although some doubts have been raised. Vadim Orlov, who was a communications intelligence officer, stated that on 27 October, U.S. destroyers lobbed PDCs at B-59. Captain Valentin Savitsky, unable to establish communications with Moscow, with a crew suffering from heat and high levels of carbon dioxide, ordered the T5 nuclear torpedo to be assembled for firing. The Deputy Brigade Commander Second Captain Vasili Arkhipov calmed Savitsky down and they made the decision to surface the submarine.[32] This narrative is controversial, as other submarine commanders have found it improbable that Savitsky would have given such an order.[30]

    ###

    These were 4.8 kiloton warheads with a range of 40 km.
    The submarine captain did not have the authority to arm the torpedoes, apparently, without orders from Moscow.

    TAG, you should relax and admire the pretty flowers.

    • TAG
      Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 4:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

      It wasn’t a blockade. it was very deliberately termed a quarantine because a blockade is an act of war and Kennedy did not want to be the president who ended the American republic

      • mpainter
        Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 5:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

        A rose by any other name is still a rose.

        Who said that TAG? HINT: it was not JFK.

  66. mpainter
    Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 7:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The fat kid just fired a missile over Japan. Will Trump again tweet tweet tweet or will he do something, finally. The fat kid will not be bluffed and he makes Trump look like a blustering and impotent fool.

    • Pat Frank
      Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 8:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The fat kid has Seoul by the throat, mpainter. Precipitate action is not smart.

      One might see an opportunistic extraction by a SEAL team, if that were ever possible.

      Wonder what the residual NK hierarchy would do, if KJU were suddenly removed and jailed.

      • mpainter
        Posted Aug 28, 2017 at 10:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Precipitate it right and problem solved. Bluffs will not work. Fat kid will make Trump look ever more impotent.

        • Gerald Browning
          Posted Aug 29, 2017 at 8:15 PM | Permalink

          mpainter,

          So you would just write off Seoul? Kim’s artillery is hidden in fortified bunkers in the hills and his missiles are on trucks essentially impossible to target. Please provide exact details as to how to overcome these issues without millions of lives being lost.

          Jerry

        • mpainter
          Posted Aug 29, 2017 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

          Gerry,Please verify that fortified bunkers cannot be destroyed. Please verify that truck-launched missiles cannot be intercepted.
          Please show how such weaponry can kill “millions” on limited amounts of ordnance. Please verify that North Korea would direct such ordnance against civil population rather than against against SK own destructive capabilities. Please explain how a first strike would not cripple NK fire capacity, given the detection methods of modern satellite telemetry.

          Fear warps judgement. Strike before the fat kid gets his compact missile-ready nuclear device. Do not fret yourself into paralysis.

        • davideisenstadt
          Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

          An orderly quiet deliberate evacuation of Seoul would be a good start, Gerald.

        • TAG
          Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 7:39 AM | Permalink

          An orderly quiet deliberate evacuation of Seoul would be a good start, Gerald

          There are over 20 million people in Seoul. Houston was not evacuated prior to Harvey because it was just impractical. Why would the evacuation of a city many times larger in the face of the threat of war be in any way practical? The evacuation of Houston would as a traffic jam from there to Dallas was one description that I heard of the proposal there.

        • Gerald Browning
          Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

          mpainter,

          “Please verify that fortified bunkers cannot be destroyed.”

          Pleas verify the location of all of the bunkers and that they can all be taken out before they shell Seoul.
          What if one artillery unit survives and launches a gas attack?

          “Please verify that truck-launched missiles cannot be intercepted.”

          Anti-missile missiles can be overwhelmed. And it takes only one plane reaching Seoul with a nuke.
          How long would it take that plane to reach Seoul? Does NK have stand off capable cruise missiles?

          “Please show how such weaponry can kill “millions” on limited amounts of ordnance.”

          It seems you think you have better intelligence on NK than the CIA (not).

          ” Please verify that North Korea would direct such ordnance against civil population rather than against against SK own destructive capabilities. ”

          The fat man has no morals – he is willing to use nukes on civilian cities.

          “Please explain how a first strike would not cripple NK fire capacity, given the detection methods of modern satellite telemetry.”

          If this were the case, it would have been done long ago. The risks are too great given our limited knowledge of their capabilities. And even if the fat man gets ICBM’s he knows their use would be suicide.

          I do not like the fat man, nor do I like war mongers.

          Jerry

        • davideisenstadt
          Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

          Take a few weeks…. dont need to do it two days…two three weeks. No press…just buses.

  67. mpainter
    Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 10:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Putin yesterday ordered the evacuation of the North Korea border at Vladivostok. Has Trump told him something? Latest Trump tweet: “Talking no good” Tillerson out? Just learned that U.S. has paid NK over $ one billion in aid since 1995. My god.

  68. mpainter
    Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 2:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Gerald, I note your “war monger” sneer. You, like so many, are content that our policy should be hostage to your personal fears. You seem incapable of weighing the consequences of inaction against decisive action.

    A first strike is Trump’s only option for resolving the situation. Let’s see if he does. I think Japan, South Korea, etc. will approve. A first strike will cripple NK and remove any threats against those countries, permanently. By the way, Clauswitz was right. So was Machiavelli.

    • TAG
      Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 4:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Clausewitz created the dictum that war is politics by other means. That is the aims of any war must be balanced against the cost. War is a means of achieving an end and if the costs of achieving it outweigh the benefits then the war should not be fought. Clausewitz was not a proponent of war.

      machiavelli in “The Prince” also argued against precipitate action when the benefit would not match the cost and identified that as the common case.

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 5:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

      TAG, I suspect you mean the Clauswitz quote that says “national policy” and this quote underscores my point: that formulation of national policy is a practical matter and is not well conceived from a high moral dudgeon, though it may be draped in pretty terms of high morality. That’s why I referred to Machiavelli, the wise and experienced writer on statecraft. He would doubtless smirk at some of the high sounding moral principles that today get peddled as wise statecraft.

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 31, 2017 at 7:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

        I read “The Prince” long ago so this is from memory. Machiavelli described some cynical policies that a prince could follow. However, this was always followed by admonitions that a prince should try to obtain the support of the population. Machiavelli would not smirk at high sounding moral principles. He would emphasize that they are the only sustainable means for a prince to retain power. If a rival prince tried to take over his domain, a disgruntled population would supply no support to a prince. That is some of what Machiavelli emphasized. Don’t make enemies if you don’t have to.

        We can see this now in the way Europe and the US have treated their Muslim populations. In the US, Muslims have been accepted in a way that is far more inclusive that in Europe. Speaking in broad strokes, Muslims are treated as “the other” in Europe and as a result are prone to radicalization. There are terror attacks in Europe but far fewer in the US which shows the folly of Europe’s attitude and policies. The US has been far more successful in including Muslims into its polity and broader society. However Trump’s policies will tend to undo the US’s success in this.

        • Pat Frank
          Posted Aug 31, 2017 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

          You’ve completely misread the Muslim situation, TAG. Europe has bent over backwards with acceptance and material support.

          All of that is accepted as a sign of weakness by the people of an unremittingly hostile culture. Their hostility is innate, permanent, unapologetic, and unhidden.

          The only reason violence is less in the US is because the Muslim population does not feel strong enough to be aggressive.

          This is the standard tactic of jihad, of 1000 years standing: temporize until you’re strong enough to attack.

  69. mpainter
    Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 5:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Regarding North Korea, Trump has tweeted “no more talking” so I conclude that he is determined to act. Perhaps he has some scheme for engineering a provocation, but maybe not. It will be quick and easy.

    The next war will be against Iran and Hezbollah and Syria, if Assad does not stand aside. Netanyahu has just told Putin that Israel intends to make war and Trump is 100% with that. Should be interesting over the course of the next year or so. Iran is on “notice”. Will they beef up their forces in Syria, as planned? Will Assad permit it? It’s been reported that Putin was told that Israel will bomb Assad in his palace if he does not watch out. So Trump will take care of Iran and NK, both.

    • Gerald Browning
      Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 7:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Mpainter,

      You seem to have forgotten Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, ….
      Weren’t they suppose to be easy. You are a war monger – no use reasoning with you.

      Jerry

    • mpainter
      Posted Aug 30, 2017 at 7:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Gerald, you should apologize. I am
      reporting events with only a modicum of interpretation by me.

      You seem to be calling me a “war monger” only because I do not share your moral indignation.

      Well, there’s more. I believe that Iran and NK have teamed up to develop a compact nuclear warhead for missiles. Iran furnishing the $, of course, and technical help. So much for sanctions against NK. They have ample financing from Iran.

      There is Russia. Lavrov responded today to Israel’s declared intention to eliminate Hezbollah and Iranian influence by mouthing legal and moral jargon. Ha, cold comfort for Assad and Iran. This is the fruit of Trump’s diplomacy. Russia is on board. Putin will now see rival Iranian influence eliminated, a boost to Russian prestige in the area.

      • TAG
        Posted Aug 31, 2017 at 7:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Regarding North Korea, Trump has tweeted “no more talking”.

        The Constitution reserves the power to declare war to the Congress. According to the Constitution, no one person has the capability to place the US in a war. Even FDR had great difficulty in moving the US away from isolation and into supporting the Allied cause. It took a direct attack by the Japanese to do that. However, nuclear weapons and ICBMs changed all of that. A war can begin and be over in hours with millions dead and civilization ended. It takes 4 minutes now for a presidential order to ICBMs leaving their silos. A president could stampede the US into a war. That is why Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson are saying things that are quite different from what Trump is saying. There are ways in which an impetuous or otherwise unsuitable president can be prevented from starting a war

        There are examples of this in history. Nixon was a brilliant but flawed man. I can recall three incidents which bear on this question. Nixon was a heavy drinker. On one occasion, he was reading some reports on Cambodia while drunk. He became angered by what was in them and ordered Kissinger to begin a massive bombing campaign there. This was a direct presidential order. However, Kissinger chose to ignore it and wait for Nixon to sober up. Nixon did and the bombing campaign was forgotten. The other two incidents occurred during the Watergate affair. In October 1973, the Arab states attacked Israel in the Yom Kippur war. With massive US aid, Israel was able to turn around the attack and take the initiative. In response, the Soviet Union declared that it would intervene directly. One night (October 6th), intelligence was received that the Soviets were moving arms to the region including tactical nuclear weapons. Staff tried to alert Nixon but found that he was lying in a drunken stupor at the White House and could not be awakened. Kissinger, Haig and the rest of the senior staff took over. They put the military on alert, raised the alert level to DEFCON 3, recalled 75 B52 bombers from Guam to the US mainland, moved carrier battle groups closer to the Middle East etc. In short, they took over the government, while the president was lying drunk. The third incident took place near the end of Nixon’s presidency. He was drinking heavily. There was fear that he could order a coup or start a war. The Secretary of Defense issued orders to the military that any orders for nuclear deployment would have to follow the chain of command. He took it upon himself to vet and approve any presidential order.

      • mpainter
        Posted Aug 31, 2017 at 10:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

        TAG, the President may make war although he can’t declare war. This discretion is known as the War Power and this power has been exercised a number of times throughout U.S. history. Trump has sole discretion over the use of the armed forces.

        Trump haters cannot think straight and resort to any manner of ill informed comments to bash Trump. Their virulent hate rules their faculty of reason, assuming that they have such.

    • TAG
      Posted Aug 31, 2017 at 7:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

      Regarding North Korea, Trump has tweeted “no more talking”.

      The Constitution reserves the power to declare war to the Congress. According to the Constitution, no one person has the capability to place the US in a war. Even FDR had great difficulty in moving the US away from isolation and into supporting the Allied cause against the NAZIs. It took a direct attack by the Japanese to do that. However, nuclear weapons and ICBMs changed all of that. A war can begin and be over in hours with millions dead and civilization ended. It takes 4 minutes now for a presidential order to ICBMs leaving their silos. A president could stampede the US into a war. That is why Secretaries Mattis and Tillerson are saying things that are quite different from what Trump is saying. There are ways in which an impetuous or otherwise unsuitable president can be prevented from starting a war

      There are examples of this in history. Nixon was a brilliant but flawed man. I can recall three incidents which bear on this question. Nixon was a heavy drinker. On one occasion, he was reading some reports on Cambodia while drunk. He became angered by what was in them and ordered Kissinger to begin a massive bombing campaign there. This was a direct presidential order. However, Kissinger chose to ignore it and wait for Nixon to sober up. Nixon did and the bombing campaign was forgotten. The other two incidents occurred during the Watergate affair. In October 1973, the Arab states attacked Israel in the Yom Kippur war. With massive US aid, Israel was able to turn around the attack and take the initiative. In response, the Soviet Union declared that it would intervene directly. One night (October 6th), intelligence was received that the Soviets were moving arms to the region including tactical nuclear weapons. Staff tried to alert Nixon but found that he was lying in a drunken stupor at the White House and could not be awakened. Kissinger, Haig and the rest of the senior staff took over. They put the military on alert, raised the alert level to DEFCON 3, recalled 75 B52 bombers from Guam to the US mainland, moved carrier battle groups closer to the Middle East etc. In short, they took over the government, while the president was lying drunk. The third incident took place near the end of Nixon’s presidency. He was drinking heavily. There was fear that he could order a coup or start a war. The Secretary of Defense issued orders to the military that any orders for nuclear deployment would have to follow the chain of command. He took it upon himself to vet and approve any presidential order.

  70. mpainter
    Posted Aug 31, 2017 at 9:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Now we learn that Comey drafted a statement exhonerating Hillary two months before the investigation..err, I mean the “matter” was complete, and circulated iteratives of this through the FBI. Whatever on earth do you suppose Comey was thinking of?

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 1, 2017 at 4:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Now Hillary has got something to really be worried about, since this justifies reopening the investigation of her, again (Comey reopened it the first occasion).

    • Frank
      Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 1:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

      https://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/news-releases/transcripts-comey-drafted-conclusion-clinton-probe-prior-interviewing-key#_ftn2

      The FBI transcripts obtained by Senator Grassley apparently “indicate that Comey began drafting a statement to announce the conclusion of the Clinton email investigation in April or May of 2016, before the FBI interviewed up to 17 key witnesses including former Secretary Clinton and several of her closest aides. The draft statement also came before the Department entered into immunity agreements with Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson where the Department agreed to a very limited review of Secretary Clinton’s emails and to destroy their laptops after review.”

      To me, this suggests that the last part of the email investigation was conducted in such a way as to reach a pre-determined conclusion. That would be inexcusable. Unfortunately, the current information is somewhat vague about exactly when Comey began drafting his statement. When Paul Combretta received immunity and then testified (5/3/16) that he deleted emails that he knew were under subpoena without receiving additional instructions, the FBI’s case had reached a dead end. None of HRC’s close associates would be implicated by Combretta in obstruction of justice. However, that doesn’t justify the ridiculously favorable cooperation agreements those associates received nor the destruction of their laptops. All of the evidence was destroyed and/or protected by attorney-client privilege. Except, as it turns out, except for the information on Weiner’s computer. (:))

      The fundamental problems still remain: Clinton intended to hide information, not disclose classified information. Prosecution for excessive negligence had occurred only once in the last century. Comey was too timid to expand the investigation (which had begun with a complaint from the State Department about mishandling of classified information) into perjury and obstruction of justice – IMO the real crimes that were committed

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 2, 2017 at 2:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

        “The fundamental problems still remain:..”

        #####
        No, Trump fired the fundamental problem.
        Wray will know what to do.

  71. mpainter
    Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 9:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I copy from one of my comments above:

    Comey is an enigma. He was a U.S. attorney under Bush 2001-003, then was moved to the DoJ as #2 man there. He left that position in 2005 to become General Counsel and Senior Vice President at Lockheed Martin, the big, somewhat rancid defense contractor. This is moving very far, very quickly. Bush influence, no doubt. The Bush crowd must have liked Comey a great deal. He was there five years. His last year,2010, he earned $6 MM, reportedly. Comey, the swamp creature, a favored protege of Bush & Co. So how did he wind up as a politicized FBI Director under Democrat O’bumma?

    #####

    I omitted the most interesting detail, it seems. Comey left Lockheed to join Bridgewater in 2010. He left Bridgewater, according to Wikipedia, in early 2013 to …to become a Senior Research Scholar at Columbia Law School. Guess what he researched… National Security Law. Yep, go see for yourself, National Security Law.
    When he completed his studies, O’bumma appointed him Director of the FBI, in September 2013. Will someone please ask Comey why on earth he left a high paying job at Bridgewater to closet himself in the Columbia Law School library to study National Security Law?

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 9:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

      A new article by Andrew McCarthy in the National Review explains how it was O’bumma’s decision to let Hillary off the hook. Seems that O’bumma violated the same law that she did, by communicating under an assumed identity via email through her private server on issues involving national security.

      So O’bumma appoints as Director of the FBI honest James Comey, fair haired boy of the Bush family, as soon as Comey completed his studies at Columbia Law School. In the meantime, who was sitting on the lid at the FBI, before Comey’s appointment? None other than our Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, another Bushco groupie.

      • TAG
        Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 12:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Seems that O’bumma violated the same law that she did, by communicating under an assumed identity via email through her private server on issues involving national security.

        Trump informed the Russians in his Oval Office meeting with them of code word classified intelligence that could identify the source. This did not violate a law since the president is in charge of all classification matters and can declassify anything that he wants.

        • painters
          Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

          Interesting point, TAG. What if Trump sent classified information to an insecure computer under a false identity? The false identity assumed in order to mask his identity from the law? If Trump acts under a false identity, is he discharging his duties of office or acting in an unofficial and private capacity? What if Trump had reason to believe that the computer was insecure when he sent classified information there in an unofficial capacity? These issues will all need to be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court, right?

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

        May well have been Obama decision, but Comey’s the only one that can be reached.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

          Maybe not even Comey, if he can claim that obamma instructed him not to prosecute. The pardon power?. Some attorney might be able to shed some light on this legal matter and all the rabbit holes in the tangles.

    • TAG
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 12:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

      please ask Comey why on earth he left a high paying job at Bridgewater to closet himself in the Columbia Law School library to study National Security Law?

      I once identified someone in my department as a potential CEO. He didn’t stay with the company and enter the fast track. Instead he joined a university where he is now a full professor. I have told him that by doing that he gave up a very lucrative career if not with the company we worked for but with another. He wanted an academic research career. Money is not a big motivator for him. Perhaps the Comey experience is similar.

      • painters
        Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 1:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

        TAG, you are hopeless. Trump: “The system is fixed”. Trump knows better than you.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 2:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Trump actually said “a rigged system”. The voters know this as well. When Trump “de-rigs” the system, he will have the voters behind him.

    • Steve McIntyre
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Will someone please ask Comey why on earth he left a high paying job at Bridgewater to closet himself in the Columbia Law School library to study National Security Law?

      At the same time that he left Bridgewater, he became a director and compliance officer for HBSC, which had just been fined $1.9 billion. He would have made just as much money with HBSC or more.

      You left out other interesting Comey connections:
      – he deep-sixed investigation into whether Clinton pardon of Marc Rich was corrupt
      – he deep-sixed investigation into Hillary’s brother, who received $400,000 in commission for a Clinton pardon for a drug dealer;
      – he let Sandy Berger (Clinton NSC and Hillary adviser) off with a misdemenour for stealing a unique 9/11 document from National Archives (the underwear thief)

      Hillary was friends with both Berger and his wife (real estate agent for Clinton house) and I’m sure that one of the factors going into Hillary’s decision to have an off-campus server was to avoid any future need to remove embarrassing documents. My recollection is that Berger removed a document pertaining to Qatar

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 4:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

        Jan 30, 2013 – James Brien Comey, Jr. (52 former United States Deputy Attorney General, has been appointed a Director of HSBC Holdings plc with effect from 4 March 2013. He will be an independent non-executive Director and a member of the Financial System Vulnerabilities Committee.

        Comey resigned in July. This position entailed very little work, I imagine, and a Director’s stipend. I believe Comey knew that he was destined for the FBI. I believe that he knew of Hillary’s criminal liabilities when he researched National Security Law at Columbia, which research would have directly involved the law under which he should have indicted Hillary. I hope swamp creature Comey is made to answer fully for his culpabilities.

  72. TAG
    Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    North Korea has announced that they have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. The Japanese government has sated that there has been a seismic event in North Korea that is about 10 times larger that the events recorded with previous North Korean nuclear tests. The tenets of Von Clausewitz and Machiavelli were noted previously in the postings for this article. The specific focus of “The Prince” and “On War” are different but there is a commonalty between them in that the response to events should be deliberate, measured and proportionate to the desired outcome.

    General Micahel Haydn (former director of the CIA and NSA) was on CNN this morning. He noted that the nuclear test was not a test of manhood. It was a test of national policy. In this, he echoes Machiavelli and Von Clausewitz. Hayden also noted the previous reactions to North Korean actions was to engage in a contest of hyperbole between Trump and Kin Jong-un , In that line trump today tweeted:

    The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.

    So, Trump is Threatening to end all trade with China, Russia, South Korea …

    He also tweeted this before he met with General Mattis

    Does this new entry in the hyperbole contest seem compatible with the deliberate, measured and proportionate policies recommended by Von Clausewitz and Machiavelli? Trump’s tweet threatened to destroy the American economy. Is there any likelihood that this piece of hyperbolic theatre will be helpful in resolving this issue?

    • TAG
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

      I should have added as an example that Samsung supplies teh smartphone screens bot for itself and Apple. So if Trump ends all trade with South Korea Apple will not be able to sell any smartphones.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

      mpainter, not painters. It’s getting interesting. China has a veto over UN security council resolutions. Will they use it? Trump will then target China. And here is always the South China Sea issue with U.S. heading a host of nations against China.I have a feeling that China will fall in line.
      But if North Korea is partner with Iran, as I suppose, his sanctions will not work. Trump needs to realize that only a preemptive strike will solve the problem.

      The fat kid continues to buy time and make Trump look impotent.

      • Steve McIntyre
        Posted Sep 3, 2017 at 10:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

        The US already committed genocide once against North Korea. US bombing of North Korea killed 20-30% of the population, all the crops, all the infrastructure. The bombing was conducted by General Curtis Lemay, a racist and fascist who later ran as George Wallace’s vice president. Americans have forgotten about it, but North Koreans remember. They want a bomb as a deterrent against American aggression. Given the history, I think that they have a good reason.

        In my opinion, another genocide by the US against North Korea would be a war crime.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 4:49 AM | Permalink

          It was war. North Korea attacked U.S. in Korea and executed U.S. POW, whose corpses were found with their arms bound with wire. The U.S. was nearly expelled from the peninsula. Please do not try to portray the North as innocent victims. You cannot prettify the NK communist regime, try though you might. Concerning LeMay, he dropped just as much ordnance against the enemy in WW II. Do you condemn and call him names for that as well, or is he only culpable in bombing North Korea?

          Only by use of force can we eliminate the despicable North Korean regime. It’s no good trying to make the U.S. appear as the evil empire. We are not. The North Koreans are the evil ones yet you shut your eyes to this and portray the US as evil.

          For what it’s worth, LBJ could have finished the Viet Nam war in one year. He flinched from the necessary acts of war. God rot his soul for what he did to the U.S.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

          To clarify, your attempt to portray North Korea as the the victim of U.S. aggression is simply unsupportable in view of the facts. North Korea started the war by attacking the US, which did not even have armor. The U.S. was pushed back to the southern tip of the peninsula, the Pusan “perimeter”. The US was entirely on the defensive until we landed a force at (?) in the middle of the peninsula. Also, it was a U.N. operation, decided on in the security council, with elements from different U.N. members fighting with the US. Did you know that? So the U.N. commits genocide in Korea? I can’t believe that you really have a handle on the facts.

        • chuckrr
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

          Kim Il-sung murdered over 1 million of his own citizens in concentration camps. And he initiated the conflict with the south and the US and UN. Genocide imply’s a racist intent …an extermination based solely on the intent to eliminate a group of people. The US bombed to end the aggression and the war, not to eliminate the North Koreans. The genocide angle was definitely promoted by Kim Il-sung and surely his subjects mostly believed it. After all they have never had any other source of information. It’s a problem when this propaganda is believed by those outside the regime.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 9:58 PM | Permalink

          US president Truman was up against Stalin + Mao, two ruthless own population genocide committers. The latter two obviously had even less regard for the foreign Korean population. Mass civilian bombings against war opponents were a few years before committed by Japan, Nazi Germany, the UK and the US. That was the fear striking war weapon of choice in that era. Today it is suicide bombers, drone strikers, laser guided bombs/missiles.
          Had the US /UN not intervened whole Korea would have been under the Kim dynasty, South-East Asia would have faced a similar faith. The domino theory was on the money. Luckily both the totalitarian USSR and PR China suffered so many internal setbacks that they lost grip on Vietnam even-though the US bungled their evaluation of its local supporters / situation / terrain.

      • TAG
        Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

        This is the nature of modern war.

        Today, in Yemen Saudi forces along with Saudi and Iranian surrogates are fighting a war that this brought famine, starvation and cholera to the population. They are fighting a war with weapons bought from western firms. In Myanmar, government forces are attacking the Rohingya minority for the crime of being Muslim and a minority. Tens of thousands are being forced from their homes as villages are torched. Children are being beheaded and burned alive. In the Congo, the war that began with the massacres in Rwanda carries on. The war began as a calculated genocide that carried on as the US with Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright refused to intervene. Hundreds of thousands were murdered while the UN ordered its forces there to do nothing. One could notice the difference with western intervention when similar genocides were carried out as short time later in the Balkans. There is also the case of what ISIS did to the Yazidi. There was and is a war of extermination with girl children being sold into sexual slavery.

        This, of course, is only a recitation of current events. The events of the last 20 years. The 20th century would be replete with examples of genocide and ethnic cleansing all across Europe. A European history of the 20th century would have to be based on mass murder planned and directed by governments. The European Union was founded to prevent the nations of Europe from killing each other. The nations of Europe were first recognized as fully sovereign in the Treaty of Westphalia which ended the 30 Years War. These nations were recognized as sovereign to prevent the religions of Europe from murdering masses of people.

        Regarding the recent missile launch over Japan by North Korea, some have noted that the date of August 29th was likely not a coincidence. It was the anniversary of the act passed by the Japanese government to annex Korea. It has only been with great difficulty that the Japanese government has acknowledged the crimes committed in this occupation. The forcing of Korean women into sexual slavery to service Japanese soldiers has only recently been accepted. The crimes of the Japanese army in China with the beheading contests, the bayoneting of babies and the burying of people alive in the Rape of Nanking also should be acknowledged.

        One, of course, could fill page after page with similar accounts. Genocide and government policies of mass murder are common.

        CNN is reporting today that North Korean government officials have indicated that the regime can survive any form of sanctions initiated against it. They note that hundreds of thousands of people starved to death in the famine of the 1990s but the regime still held power. North Korean life is a life of exploitation and a constant reign of terror but the regime has a stable hold on power.

        This is the nature of modern life.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

          The rape of Nanking was an orgy of killing by the Japanese Second Army. Civilians were cut down in the streets. Thus it lasted for days. The commander of this army was a royal Prince, brother to Hirohito the Emperor. The Japanese are not liked in China or north Korea. The German consul, Rabbe I think, protected many of the Chinese, taking in thousands into the counselor compound, which must have been large. Nanking remembered. When food was scarce in Germany, right after the war and Germans were subsisting on starvation rations, a delegation from Nanking visited Rabbe and brought him supplies of food. Rabbe was a member of the national social list party of Germany.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

          “..of modern life.”

          TAG, read up on the Mongols. Also the Turks. Try Caesar De Bello Gallica. The bones of the Tencteri have been found. Several hundred thousand individuals, it’s estimated. Add a couple of hundred thousand for the siege of Alesia. Try also the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem. Jewish curse on Babylon: May your little ones be crowded into the head of your streets and there slaughtered. The young ones would not have survived the arduous trek to Mesopotamia, you see, so they were disposed of. All the more reason to do away with the fat kid. Or do you think he is nice?

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

          All the more reason to do away with the fat kid. Or do you think he is nice?

          Mao Tse Tung opined that China could win a nuclear war. In translation, his exact words in 1957 were:

          “I’m not afraid of nuclear war. There are 2.7 billion people in the world; it doesn’t matter if some are killed. China has a population of 600 million; even if half of them are killed, there are still 300 million people left. I’m not afraid of anyone.”

          To put this further in perspective, there was a nuclear cooperation agreement between China and teh Soviet Union in the 1950s. Russian technical personnel assisted the Chinese. In line with Soviet-Chinese cooperation, Khrushchev visited China in the late 50s. he found that Mao’s words were not idle comments. He meant what he said and was prepared to kill hundreds of millions of people in a nuclear war. Khrushchev was appalled. Khrushchev withdrew all Soviet cooperation on nuclear matters from China. This led the famous Sino-Soviet split which is only just now being repaired on Chinese terms.

          The US was prepared to live with the Chinese nuclear force as it was prepared to live with teh Soviet one. The policy of nuclear deterrence kept the peace for the last 70 years. There has been no great power war in that time. I see no reason that the same policy could not be used for a North Korean nuclear force. This is opinion is also one shared by a number of senior generals that I have seen on CNN.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

          TAG, seems that you are prepared to let the fat kid have his nuclear armed missiles. Why am I not surprised?

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 8:19 PM | Permalink

          let the fat kid have his nuclear armed missiles

          I live on the side of a mountain by a lake. The nearest large city is quite a distance away on the other side of the mountain. Due to the mountain, there is no cell service at my home. We are quite electronically isolated with the only access through satellite. I used to joke that, in our isolation, it was like a 50s horror movie here. We would see a bright flash over the mountain and then we would be the only people left alive on Earth.

          Now it doesn’t seem so much like a joke. We have never been so near a nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The US and North Korea are in a hyperbole contest which, as Admiral Kirby noted on CNN, is iteratively limiting the maneuver room of both countries. I have to accept that North Korea has nuclear weapons because North Korea has nuclear weapons. Triggering a war over them will kill hundreds of thousands of people.

          What is the goal of the North Korean regime in developing these weapons? Nikki Haley was incorrect when she said that North Korea is “begging for war.” They want to be left alone to continue in their reclusive ways. The US has already indicated that it has no interest in destabilizing the North Korean regime. The US would be content to allow the North Korea regime to continue its reclusive ways. What the US should be doing is not mischaracterizing what North Korea is doing and it should not be limiting its options until only military action is left. It should be using all diplomatic means to convince the Kim regime that the USA is not a direct existential threat to it. Elon Musk is predicting WW3. He is a genius and I am not. I don’t think WW3 is inevitable. I hope I’m right and Musk is wrong.

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

          North Korea got the ultra centrifuge technology from Pakistan in a barter for long range rocket parts years ago. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/24/world/threats-responses-alliances-north-korea-pakistan-deep-roots-nuclear-barter.html

          PR China gave Pakistan the A bomb technology plus highly enriched plutonium and tritium. The CIA kept mum about this as the needed the Pakistan’s help against the USSR in Afghanistan. http://www.nytimes.com/1998/06/01/world/nuclear-anxiety-the-know-how-us-and-china-helped-pakistan-build-its-bomb.html

  73. TAG
    Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 2:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Just to add, Pakistan and India have been in a low level war since partition in 1947. This even led to an all out war when East Pakistan attempted to secede to form Bangladesh. Both pakistan and India have nuclear weapons. Pakistan also regards Afghanistan as being in its sphere of influence and actively attempts to eliminate any other influence there.

    Trump has decided to put pressure on Pakistan to discourage it from acting in Afghanistan. Part of doing this was to issue a trade threat to India to coerce it to intervene in Afghanistan. So Trump wants India to intervene in an area which a country with which it is in a constant low level war sees as part of its sphere of influence. So Trump wants two countries at war with each other and armed with nuclear weapons to further become in conflict.

    The nuclear war in the Korean peninsula is a more direct threat but there is another one simmering

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 3:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

      TAG, let’s see, you say that Trump has forced India to intervene in Afghanistan. Please, you are causing my head to get that boggled sensation. The world’s second largest nation gets ordered by Trump to intervene in a place that has naught to with them and they meekly obey. Why should anyone believe that?

      • TAG
        Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 8:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Trump made the statyment on India and trade with respect to an Afghanistan intervantion. You should ask him.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 8:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

        TAG, you have no credibility with me, sorry.

    • AntonyIndia
      Posted Sep 4, 2017 at 11:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

      TAG, Trump was asking economic support from India to Afghanistan, not military. The Indians are giving the former since years. Example: they build a road from Afghanistan around Pakistan to the Iranian port of Chabahar simply to make the Afghans less dependent on Pakistan. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/08/29/trump-singled-out-india-to-do-more-in-afghanistan-that-could-easily-backfire

      • TAG
        Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 4:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

        The Washington Post article emphasizes my point that an Indian intervention in Afghanistan would raise major issues inside Pakistan. Pakistan is not going to let another country gain influence there and given the history between India and Pakistan this could not turn out well

        • AntonyIndia
          Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 6:17 AM | Permalink

          India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and PR China will continue the same policies as followed this last decade. President Trump is the only piece on that chess board which might make a move: subsidize Pakistan’s military-civilian Establishment less. Losing their biggest free ride will be painful for those generals.

  74. TAG
    Posted Sep 5, 2017 at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The hyperbole contest between the Trump administration and the Kim regime continues:

    A North Korean diplomat:

    The recent self-defense measures by my country, DPRK, are a ‘gift package’ addressed to none other than the U.S., … The U.S. will receive more ‘gift packages’ from my country as long as its relies on reckless provocations and futile attempts to put pressure on the DPRK,”

    Nikki Haley

    We have kicked the can down the road long enough. There is no more road left.

    Even Vladimir Putin understands that this war of words is not productive and can lead to a global disaster

    Saddam Hussein rejected the production of weapons of mass destruction, but even under that pretense, he was destroyed and members of his family were killed. The country was demolished and Saddam Hussein was hanged. Everyone knows that and everyone in North Korea knows that.

    We know that North Korea has nukes, we also know that North Korea has long-range artillery and it has other types of weapons and there are no weapons against long-range artillery — and these weapons can be difficult to locate.
    …..
    So, we think that this military hysteria will not lead to good results. It could lead to global catastrophe with lots of victims.

    Putin’s analysis appears good to me. North Korea will not give up its nuclear weapons short of war. There is current talk of coercing China into ending oil shipments to North Korea. Some have noted that it was a US oil embargo that triggered the Japanese decision to attack Pearl Harbor. It has also been noted the oil pipeline in North Korea is old and that stopping shipments could cause it to deteriorate and permanently fail. The North Korean economy would collapse.

    The US and North Korea are maneuvering themselves into a situation that neither of them want. South Korea expects that the North Korean gift package will be the launch of another ICBM on the weekend. What happens after that is something that hopefully will not be out of control.

  75. TAG
    Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    An article from the New Yorker on the current nuclear crisis with North Korea:

    Brinkmanship, according to Thomas Schelling, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who pioneered the theory of nuclear deterrence, is the art of “manipulating the shared risk of war.” In 1966, he envisaged a nuclear standoff as a pair of mountain climbers, tied together, fighting at the edge of a cliff. Each will move ever closer to the edge, so that the other begins to fear that he might slip and take both of them down. It is a matter of creating the right amount of fear without losing control. Schelling wrote, “However rational the adversaries, they may compete to appear the more irrational, impetuous, and stubborn.” But what if the adversaries are irrational, impetuous, and stubborn?

    The last question from the New Yorker article is quite pertinent. I think that Schelling is incorrect in any event. They are not competing to appear irrational. it is the nuclear system that irrational as an emergent property. Every step in its formation was and is rational but the final state is irrational.

    This is the view from the analyst assigned to the New Yorker writer for his visit to North Korea

    For Pak and other analysts in North Korea, the more important question about the United States extends beyond Trump. “Is the American public ready for war?” he asked. “Does the Congress want a war? Does the American military want a war? Because, if they want a war, then we must prepare for that.”

    What answer would be given to his question?

    • TAG
      Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 12:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

      The URL for the New Yorker article:

      https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/18/the-risk-of-nuclear-war-with-north-korea

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

        In April 1950, Stalin gave Kim permission to invade the South under the condition that Mao would agree to send reinforcements if needed. Stalin made it clear that Soviet forces would not openly engage in combat, to avoid a direct war with the United States. Kim met with Mao in May 1950. Mao was concerned the U.S. would intervene but agreed to support the North Korean invasion. China desperately needed the economic and military aid promised by the Soviets. However, Mao sent more ethnic Korean PLA veterans to Korea and promised to move an army closer to the Korean Once Mao’s commitment was secured, preparations for war accelerated.

        Soviet generals with extensive combat experience from the Second World War were sent to North Korea as the Soviet Advisory Group. These generals completed the plans for the attack by May. The original plans called for a skirmish to be initiated in the Ongjin Peninsula on the west coast of Korea. The North Koreans would then launch a counterattack that would capture Seoul and encircle and destroy the South Korean army. The final stage would involve destroying South Korean government remnants, capturing the rest of South Korea, including the ports.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

          All true and more. Soviet fighter aces from WW2 flew combat missions in North Korea. North Korean fighters were also based in airfields situated in China and would retreat into Chinese airspace which UN fighters were officially forbidden to fly. This led to great pressure for authorization to give permission for the airwar to extend beyond the border at the Yalu River. Despite the official prohibition, UN fighters commonly went into China.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

          An article by David Halberstam in Vanity Fair describes what happened in Korean War when MacArthur advanced to the Chinese border at the Yalu River despite warnings that this would trigger a Chinese intervention in the war. Events proceeded in ways that MacArthur was not dispostionally able to anticipate.

          https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2007/10/halberstam200710

          The year before, when Lei Yingfu, the Chinese military adviser, had given Mao his briefing on MacArthur’s likely assault on Inchon, the Chinese leader peppered him with questions not just about the general’s tactics in the past, but about his personality as well. He was, Lei answered, “famous for his arrogance and his stubbornness.” That intrigued Mao. “Fine! Fine!” he said. “The more arrogant and more stubborn he is the better.” “An arrogant enemy,” he added, “is easy to defeat.”

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

          From Wikipedia:

          “During their advance, the KPA purged the Republic of Korea’s intelligentsia by killing civil servants and intellectuals. On 20 August, General MacArthur warned North Korean leader Kim Il-sung he was responsible for the KPA’s atrocities.[151]”

          ###
          Your heroes, TAG. The re writers of history have left out some details.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

          I watched the BBC World Service on satellite television this morning. A New York Times correspondent said that the North Korean regime was truly evil and worse than any place he had been and he had been to some truly bad places.

        • Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

          If Mau had truly been given a briefing about a likely McArthur-led invasion of Inchon he should actually have been easy to defeat.

    • TAG
      Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 5:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

      More from tehe New Yorker. This is the reply to a question of how North Korea could withstand a nuclear attack. I would urge everyone to read this article. Thre is a grave chance that mutual misunderstandings could create a situation in which hundreds of thousands or millions of people could die.

      At lunch, I asked Pak, “If your country would be destroyed in a nuclear exchange, why are you really entertaining the idea?”
      North Korea, he said, is no stranger to devastation: “We’ve been through it twice before. The Korean War and the Arduous March”—the official euphemism for the famine of the mid-nineties. “We can do it a third time.” The argument is embedded in North Koreans’ self-image. They are taught to see themselves as inhabitants of a land shaped by a history of suffering, a sense of hostile encirclement, and a do-or-die insistence on survival.
      But, to state the obvious, I said, risking a premature end to a friendly meal, a nuclear exchange would not be comparable.
      “A few thousand would survive,” Pak said. “And the military would say, ‘Who cares? As long as the United States is destroyed, then we are all starting from the same line again.’ ” He added, “A lot of people would die. But not everyone would die.”</blockquote

      • TAG
        Posted Sep 10, 2017 at 9:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

        http://thediplomat.com/2017/09/sorry-an-oil-embargo-wont-lead-to-north-koreas-capitulation/

        The trump administration is pushing for sanctions including an oil embargo to issued by the UN Security Council against North Korea. The administration is also pressuring China to shut down a pipeline supplying oil to North Korea. It has been repeatedly stated in the press that an oil embargo would quickly cause grave damage to the NK economy and compel them to capitulation about their nuclear capability. The article at the URL above argues that this would not be the case. NK has greatly decreased its consumption of oil due to previous sanctions. It has enormous reserves of coal and the technology to create liquid fuel from coal.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

          Foreign Policy magazine article on teh current UN sanctions resolution on North Korea. This fell short of the total ban on oil imports proposed by the Trump administration. Russia and China would not support a total ban. Perhaps this is an end of the hyperbole contest between Trump and Kim

          But other observers suggested that Haley made a tactical error by setting expectations so high in negotiations. “The political optics are not good for the United States now; it looks like it had retreated,” said Richard Gowan, a U.N. expert with the European Council on Foreign Relations.

          “It was always clear that there was no way China and Russia could buy the full sanctions package,” Gowan said. “The irony is that there are some solid new sanctions in the current resolution, and the U.S. could have sold this as a reasonable success if they hadn’t demanded even more penalties to begin with.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

          URL for the FP article

          http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/09/11/trump-administration-pulls-back-from-aggressive-u-n-resolution-on-north-korea/?utm_content=buffer84357&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

        • Frank
          Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

          If sanctions without a complete oil embargo fail to bring cooperation from NK – as is likely – then DT and Haley can blame the Chinese and Russians for the failure of those sanctions. There is no shame in demanding what appears to be necessary for success and then settling for sanction that might help.

          TAG’s history of the Korean War is incomplete. Stalin, Mao and Kim gambled that the US won’t respond to their invasion or that the US response would be overrun – as it nearly was. Kim’s invasion was directed by Russians, but Mao discussed joining it once underway, so that Chinese soldiers would present when South Korea was liberated and the Americans surrendered at Pusan. Since the Russians and North Koreans had not invited his help, he decided not to intervene during the American retreat. However, Mao ordered his troops across the NK border the same day we crossed the 38th parallel; he didn’t wait until US troops were near the NK-Chinese border. We got near the Chinese border only because the Chinese plan was to lure us north with long supply lines, a wider front and few roads and destroy our army with a counterattack. Ignoring intelligence, MacArthur continued rushing north into Mao’s trap. The goal of that trap was to liberate the whole Korean peninsula, not merely the North.

          With these actions, Mao gave up his best chance to invade Taiwan and finish off the Nationalists, who weren’t being protected by the US at that time.

        • Posted Sep 11, 2017 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

          I’m not sure Gowan understands the concept of irony. To me an irony is when Bernie Sanders and his wife celebrate their 1988 honeymoon in the still communist Soviet Union, but 29 years later thinks Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin is too close. Though, I suppose he thought Reagan’s relationship with Gorbachev was also too close.

          Sanders was not really honeymooning in Moscow. He just flew into Moscow to consummate a new “sister city” relationship with Yaroslavl, located 160 miles northeast of Moscow.

          Sanders, the mayor of Burlington VT at the time, desired to have his own foreign policy. He also formed relationships with the mayors of the Palestinian town of Bethlehem, Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, and even Havana, Cuba. I’m sure if I searched I could find Sanders and many other liberals saying kind things about Hugo Chavez’s revolution. The irony is that liberals are still ready to embrace the romantic ideas of Marx until they mature into hardened little dictatorships run by spoiled maniacs who brainwash their starving population into an apocalyptic vision in order to blackmail the west into keeping their supply Champagne and Cognac flowing.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

          Ron Graf comments:

          I’m not sure Gowan understands the concept of irony. To me an irony is when Bernie Sanders and his wife celebrate their 1988 honeymoon in the still communist Soviet Union, but 29 years later thinks Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin is too close.

          Given this, one should consider the relationship between Putin and Hillary Clinton. They despise each other. Clinton has stated that she regards Putin as a master manipulator who is interested only in himself. He is a KGB agent who has been trained and is skilled in sensing other’s weaknesses and capitalizing on them. Clinton has specifically pointed out how she thinks Putin manipulated George Bush Jr. and others. It is reported that Putin hates Clinton for what he saw as her meddling in the Russian elections. She called out cases of electoral fraud and he hates her for it.

          The severely antagonistic relationship between Clinton and Putin has been cited as a primary reason for Putin’s intervention in the US election on Trump’s side. it is no coincidence that Putin fed emails to Wikileaks in an attempt to defeat Clinton. it is also no coincidence that releases of Wikileaks data coincided with events detrimental to the Trump campaign. Within hours of the Hollywood Access leak, Wikileaks was leaking emails.

        • Steve McIntyre
          Posted Sep 14, 2017 at 4:07 PM | Permalink

          I don’t see a lot of evidence for Putin “hating” Clinton for her meddling in the 2011 elections. I get the impression that Putin is far more motivated and concerned about the looting of Russia after the end of the Soviet period and by erratic US foreign policy, especially endless wars, including fomenting of trouble in Serbia, Georgia, Chechnya and Ukraine.

          I can see reasons why Putin would not engage in long-shot meddling in the US election and am very skeptical of US attributions.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

          Perhaps the hyperbole contest is winding down. North Korea has not officially replied to the new UN sanctions. An official has threatened “unacceptable consequences” … but none of the usual blood curdling adjectives. This is just the words of an official and not an official statement from the government. So perhaps NK is trying to wind down the rhetoric

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

          Ron Graf comments:

          I’m not sure Gowan understands the concept of irony. To me an irony is when Bernie Sanders and his wife celebrate their 1988 honeymoon in the still communist Soviet Union, but 29 years later thinks Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin is too close.

          Consider the relationships between Putin and Obama and especially Putin and Hillary Clinton. They can in no way be considered to be close. The severely antagonistic relationship between Clinton and Putin has been cited as a primary reason for Putin’s intervention in the US election on Trump’s side.

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

          More from Wikipedia:

          “On 30 September, Zhou Enlai warned the United States that China was prepared to intervene in Korea if the United States crossed the 38th parallel.”
          ####
          The article also relates that Stalin demanded on October 1 that Mao send five divisions across the Yalu and attack UN forces.
          The facts of history make it clear that China entered the war as guarantor of the Kim regime, not from consideration of self defense. They knew that U.N.forces were too weak to pose any threat to China.

        • painter
          Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 6:43 AM | Permalink

          “The severely antagonistic relationship between Clinton and Putin has been cited as a primary reason for Putin’s intervention in the US election on Trump’s side”
          ###
          TAG, according to Hillary, she has a severely antagonistic relationship with everyone. See media reports on her new book.

          Also, TAG, there was no intervention by Putin in the U.S. election. This is a canard of the Democrats and the O’bumma intelligence chiefs meant to injure Trump.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 7:08 AM | Permalink

          there was no intervention by Putin in the U.S. election.

          Facebook reports Russian troll farms buying ad and setting up events. Anyone who reads newspaper comment boards sees Russian trolls making comments

        • painter
          Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

          Ah! At long last, evidence that Putin intervened in the U.S.election! Russian trolls, fresh from the farm. You can take the troll out of Russia, but you can’t take Russia out of the troll. Is that what you mean to say, TAG?.

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

          These are Russian troll farms established and supported by the Russian gvoernment

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

          Well then, it’s no wonder that Hillary hates Russia. But why does she hate Trump? Did Trump collude with Russia in trolling Hillary?

        • TAG
          Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

          The Russian government presented a proposal to the US just after the Trump inauguration that called for full normalization of relations. It included a proposal for cooperation on cybersecurity.

          Putin has a good sense of irony

        • mpainter
          Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

          “…sense of irony.”
          ###
          A useful trait, one you might cultivate in yourself. Helps one keep some mental balance. TAG, you carry a heavy load of credulous baggage.

  76. mpainter
    Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 1:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In April 1950, Stalin gave Kim permission to invade the South under the condition that Mao would agree to send reinforcements if needed. Stalin made it clear that Soviet forces would not openly engage in combat, to avoid a direct war with the United States.[93] Kim met with Mao in May 1950. Mao was concerned the U.S. would intervene but agreed to support the North Korean invasion. China desperately needed the economic and military aid promised by the Soviets.[94] However, Mao sent more ethnic Korean PLA veterans to Korea and promised to move an army closer to the Korean border.[95] Once Mao’s commitment was secured, preparations for war accelerated.[96][97]

    Soviet generals with extensive combat experience from the Second World War were sent to North Korea as the Soviet Advisory Group. These generals completed the plans for the attack by May.[98] The original plans called for a skirmish to be initiated in the Ongjin Peninsula on the west coast of Korea. The North Koreans would then launch a counterattack that would capture Seoul and encircle and destroy the South Korean army. The final stage would involve destroying South Korean government remnants, capturing the rest of South Korea, including the ports.[99]
    ###
    From Wikipedia. This is what some characterize as U.S. aggression against North Korea.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 11:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

      This Wikipedia account makes it clear that Chinese intervention was determined upon before the war even started, according to the dictates of Stalin. Indeed, the article states that Stalin demanded Chinese intervention on the day that U.N. forces crossed the 38th parallel, October 1, and Mao complied, with Chinese forces crossing the Yalu three weeks later, on October 23. So history when de-rewritten shows how Chinese intervention was predetermined and the crossing of the 38th parallel was the actual trigger for that intervention.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 12, 2017 at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

        More from Wikipedia:

        “On 30 September, Zhou Enlai warned the United States that China was prepared to intervene in Korea if the United States crossed the 38th parallel.”
        ####
        The article also relates that Stalin demanded on October 1 that Mao send five divisions across the Yalu and attack UN forces.
        The facts of history make it clear that China entered the war as guarantor of the Kim regime, not from consideration of self defense. They knew that U.N.forces were too weak to pose any threat to China

  77. mpainter
    Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 2:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Test north Korea, Stalin, China.

    • mpainter
      Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

      Test Kim, Mao.

      • mpainter
        Posted Sep 8, 2017 at 2:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

        Steve, can’t figure out why my comments went into moderation.

  78. mpainter
    Posted Sep 13, 2017 at 5:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The White House on Wednesday laid out its most detailed case yet for why the Department of Justice should consider prosecuting former FBI director James Comey, calling it a clear violation of federal law to leak FBI memos to the press like Comey allegedly did.

    Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, pointed to Comey’s acknowledgement during a June congressional hearing that he authorized the leaking of a memo about his conversations with the president to The New York Times.

    “The memos that Comey leaked were created on a FBI computer while he was the director,” Sanders said during Wednesday’s briefing. “He claims they were private property. They clearly follow the protocol of an official FBI document.”

    Sanders added, “Leaking FBI memos on a sensitive case, regardless of classification, violates federal laws including the Privacy Act, standard FBI employee agreement and non-disclosure agreement all personnel must sign. I think that’s pretty clean and clear that that would be a violation.”
    ###
    From Fox News. Comey could lose all. He has already publicly testified on this, so he has no recourse to the fifth, as I understand it.

  79. TAG
    Posted Oct 6, 2017 at 9:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    There are news reports that North Korea told a visiting Russian parliamentarian that they are planning to test an ICBM capable of reaching the US on October 10. An American official is reported to ahve said that there are indications of a test planned for that date. This may be the background fro Trump’s comments on “calm before the storm” and criticism of the military for lack of speed in providing military options.

    It should be noted that China developed nuclear capable hydrogen bombs at the height of the Cultural Revolution. As well, China did do what NK has threatened to do and test launched a nuclear armed missile and exploded teh atomic warhead at test site in a remote part of China. China during the Cultural Revolution was a chaotic place. However a policy of containment was followed in response to its nuclear weapons program

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