Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Friday, April 20, 2018

I'm a criminal? No YOU'RE a criminal.

by digby

I wrote about the memos, the referrals and the long list of political enemies the Republicans want locked up for Salon this morning:

If I had read this opening paragraph of a CNN story four years ago I would have assumed it was actually an excerpt from a bad movie script:
A week after the tell-all book from James Comey exploded onto the scene, President Donald Trump is telling aides and confidants something he rarely does: He's pleased at how Republicans and the White House led the charge to try and discredit the former FBI director.

Setting aside the ridiculous notion of Donald Trump being president, I would have said the stuff about the White House and Republicans openly celebrating a campaign to discredit an FBI director, much less a stalwart Republican like Comey, would be absurd and no one would believe it. They were the "law and order" party. They love FBI directors.

There's no need to belabor this little time-travel exercise. It's just that sometimes you have to acknowledge the strangeness of what's going on. This is just one small example, but it's a significant one. The president and his minions in the media and, more significantly, in the Congress are working overtime to discredit witnesses in a counterintelligence investigation involving ... the president. And they are bragging about their success to the news media.

On Thursday night the Department of Justice finally relented and released the long-sought "Comey memos," which the former FBI director had written to document his meetings with Trump and other members of the White House during those first few months of the Trump administration. Just like the infamous "Nunes memo," they are basically duds as far as new information is concerned. This should come as no surprise: Comey testified at length before Congress and wrote a book about all this that he's currently appearing on every TV show in the known world to promote. Apparently, Trump's allies hoped or believed these would prove Comey was lying and instead they have now proved to everyone that he wasn't. They're reduced to making absurd observations that Comey never once wrote that he "felt obstructed."

Still, it was a thrilling day for Trump. His Justice Department referred former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia for possible criminal charges. Finally, one of his perceived political enemies was getting what was coming to him.

McCabe was referred on the basis of the FBI inspector general's report finding that he had shown a "lack of candor" about an unauthorized leak to the Wall Street Journal confirming that the FBI was still investigating the Clinton Foundation. You'll recall that McCabe was fired in a highly unorthodox fashion for this infraction, just hours before he was to officially retire and weeks before the report was released in full.

According to former FBI counter-intelligence official Frank Figliuzzi, who recently discussed all this on MSNBC's "Deadline: White House," this referral is unusual:
If it is true that the charge that is being referred is for a lack of candor during an internal inquiry, I cannot recall that ever happening in my 25-year FBI career. I also headed the office of professional responsibility adjudication unit. I was the chief inspector of the FBI during my career and that's a new one on me. So, what I was thinking is that the referral would be for an unauthorized leak -- that McCabe actually conceded that he did allow his subordinates to talk to the media and disclosed the existence of a case. That sounded more prosecutable than lacking candor during an internal inquiry. I don't know if he was under oath or not, but nonetheless the remedy for that is termination not criminal referral. So I'm troubled by this, if the reporting is correct.
James Comey told Rachel Maddow on Thursday night that there were two people in the FBI who had authorization to provide such information to the media at the time: Himself and Andrew McCabe. So a criminal referral on that count would seem to be odd as well.

It appears that McCabe is facing potential criminal indictment for a so-called crime not easily found in the statute books ("lack of candor") or over a leak he was specifically authorized to make. This is not the end of this story.

According to the Washington Post, the president is not satisfied:
Trump also loudly and repeatedly complained to several advisers earlier this week that former FBI director James B. Comey, former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, among others, should be charged with crimes for misdeeds alleged by Republicans, the associates said.
He doesn't have to call Justice officials. They are well aware of his demand to lock up Hillary Clinton for crimes that exist only in his head, and he has said that McCabe is a criminal many times. Surely they read his Twitter feed:
The right-wing media, led by unofficial White House chief of staff Sean Hannity, have been calling for indictments of the president's enemies for months. Now he has some congressional back-up for this authoritarian, banana-republic command. Eleven members of the House have called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray to launch criminal investigations into Clinton, Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, McCabe, former acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente and FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page for a variety of different and unaffiliated alleged crimes. If it weren't for the fact that McCabe has actually been referred for possible indictment already I'd say all of that was nuts.

I hate to give James Comey the last word, but this is what he said during an NPR interview this week after President Trump called for him to be sent to prison:
The president of the United States just said that a private citizen should be jailed. And I think the reaction of most of us was, “Meh, that’s another one of those things.” This is not normal. This is not OK. There’s a danger that we will become numb to it, and we will stop noticing the threats to our norms. The threats to the rule of law and the threats most of all to the truth. And so the reason I’m talking in terms of morality is, those are the things that matter most to this country. And there’s a great danger we’ll be numbed into forgetting that, and then only a fool would be consoled by some policy victory.