Friday, June 9, 2017

Walt's take on the Comey "revelations"

James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee (seriously, that's what they call it) was kind of a damp squib, wasn't it. I'm so glad I didn't get up at sparrow fart and join the crowd at Shaw's Tavern to watch the proceedings on TV. The only good thing about it was that in some areas it pre-empted The View. Here's my immediate, ultra-simplified reaction to the clips I saw on the news.

According to Mr Comey, President Trump lied. So what? Every president, every politician lies. President Obama lied. And President Clinton lied under oath. When it comes to lying, Mr Clinton retired as the undisputed champeen. There's not a lie he didn't tell. "I never had sex with that woman." Hah! Q. How can you tell when a politician is lying? A. His mouth is open.

According to Mr Comey, President Trump said that he hoped Mr Comey would "let it go", referring to an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his alleged ties to Russia. So what? Presidents hope a lot of things. President Obama probably told somebody he hoped the Democrats would let Hellery Clinton go. Did Mr Comey believe the President was trying to obstruct justice with that comment? Mr Comey said he did not believe he was being ordered to drop the probe, but he did take Trump's comments "as a direction" that was meant to be obeyed.

Speaking of which, how about the "direction" from former Attorney General Loretta Lynch that the investigation into Mrs Bill Clinton's e-mails was to be called a "matter", not an "investigation". And speaking of President's trying to influence (if not obstruct) the course of justice, what do you suppose was said in the lengthy meeting between Ms Lynch and President Bill aboard his airplane in June 2016? Could the phrase "let it go" have been used? Last month, Mr Comey said that purely chance meeting forced the FBI to distance itself from the Justice Department.

Read more about the Lynch-Clinton meeting: "Comey: Lynch's Private Airplane Meeting With Clinton Spurred Email Disclosure", US News & World Report, 3/5/17.

My take on the whole foofaraw: It doesn't matter who's President or which party is in power. If you think the Deep State doesn't exist, or if you believe everything done by America's "justice" department and security "system" is apolitical, I have some land in central Florida I'd like to talk to you about.

Footnote: Some of Mr Comey's testimony raised questions about his own actions. For example, he admitted leaking a memo he wrote describing his conversations with President Trump, via a friend. His excuse was that he needed to get that "out into the public square", that he didn't do it himself "for a variety of reasons," but thought that his leak might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. A pretty surprising statement, given that Mr Comey himself was highly critical of other leaks.

Mark Rozell, dean of George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government, told CBC News that Mr Comey, by admitting to the leak, "doesn't come out looking entirely clean." "Rather than giving the information out himself and bearing direct responsibility for that action, he snuck it through a personal friend, a university professor, knowing that he would leak it to the New York Times."

Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor, wrote in his blog that he found Comey's admission about the leak "deeply troubling from a professional and ethical standpoint." "If Comey was sure of his right to release the memo, why use a law professor to avoid fingerprints?"

Further reading: Rex Murphy
explains why American politics is an embarrassing mess: National Post, 9/6/17. Hint: It's not only Donald Trump's fault!

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