So much news broke in just one day about the FBI and special counsel “Russia” investigations that it might be best just to cover some of the highlights for now --- the most important, intriguing and even downright amusing revelations and side stories.
First, the word came that President Trump was adding former U.S. attorney and New York mayor Rudy Giuliani to his legal team. This makes a great deal of sense for three reasons: 1) the Michael Cohen warrants were issued by the Southern District Court of New York, Giuliani’s old stomping ground, 2) he’s been outspoken for a long time about the obvious double standard applied to Hillary Clinton, and 3) he’s RUDY GIULIANI, for gosh sakes. The plan reportedly is for him to stay on board just for awhile, with the goal of bringing the Mueller investigation to a conclusion soon. If anyone can do it, he can.
But here’s an amusing side note: Though James Comey goes after Trump on page after page of his new book, he also spends a great deal of energy attacking Giuliani at length. This secondary focus on Giuliani is so obvious, it’s even been noticed by others in law enforcement. “Every mention he made of Giuliani as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District, there were gratuitous shots,” said former FBI agent James Gagliano, a 20-year veteran of the FBI’s New York office. But here’s the hilarious part: Most of Comey’s cheap shots go after Giuliani for his ego –- for liking publicity and seeking media attention and for making everything all about him.
If you’re like me, that last sentence made you fall to the floor, helpless with laughter. Imagine James Comey criticizing someone else for seeking the limelight. I wonder why he didn’t say that about Giuliani when he went on TV with Stephen Colbert.
That was just the first of the breaking news. The Big Story is that Comey’s six memos written to document his conversations with Trump have finally been released in unredacted form to the House and Senate Judiciary, Oversight and Intelligence Committees and to Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi, and in somewhat redacted form to the media, so now we mere mortals can know most of what’s in them. My first question is, why were these redacted? Comey said he hadn’t leaked classified material, so there should be no need to black anything out. These memos don’t incriminate Trump; they incriminate Comey.
Regarding the allegations against Trump, the big take-away is that this material is, to borrow a particularly apt (in this context) phrase from Hillary Clinton, a BIG NOTHINGBURGER. Really, there isn’t anything at all to even suggest collusion or obstruction of justice on the part of Donald Trump. If this is what Comey leaked to get deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel, one has to wonder how low Rosenstein’s bar was set. There is just nothing here that warrants an investigation of Trump.
For example, regarding the March 30, 2017, phone call Comey had with the President, his notes make clear that Trump wanted him to find out if anyone involved in his campaign (a “satellite”) had done anything wrong relative to the Russia probe. That certainly doesn’t sound like someone who had anything to hide. At the same time, he wanted to know if there was any way to make it public that he wasn’t being personally investigated. This is a perfectly natural desire, a request that is not consistent with obstruction. Indeed, Comey never wrote in his notes that he felt obstructed.
In April, during another phone conversation, Trump asked Comey about announcing that he wasn’t being investigated personally. Comey wrote nothing about thinking this was inappropriate, just that he advised Trump to have the White House counsel’s office call the acting attorney general about it. Trump apparently never followed up. Again, not obstruction.
Oh –- and here’s a little more comic relief: After his White House dinner with Trump, Comey made this deliciously ironic note: “I explained that he could count on me to always tell him the truth. I said I don’t do sneaky things. I don’t leak, I don’t do weasel moves.” Go ahead, laugh until you cry. I’ll wait.
In another development, Rod Rosenstein has told Trump that he’s not a target of the Michael Cohen investigation or Mueller investigation. That raises an interesting question: Since, as Mark Levin pointed out, under the DOJ’s own memoranda from 1972 (in conjunction with Watergate), a sitting President CAN’T be the target of a criminal investigation, what were the multiple raids on Michael Cohen –- which scooped up all the privileged communications between Trump and Cohen –- all about? You can bet we’ll continue to ask that question in the coming days.
Really, all this has just scratched the surface. In other Big News, the Inspector General issued a criminal referral for Andrew McCabe, saying they have evidence his lies were “knowing and intentionally made.” If he goes to trial, Comey is likely to be a witness. And if Comey goes to trial, maybe vice versa!READ MORE
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