Today's Commentary: National Lampoons of Journalism -- The Comey Memo -- Inconvenient Questions
It’s unanimous: not only has every high-level US official who was actually in the meeting where the Washington Post claims President Trump exposed classified information to Russian officials flatly denied that it happened, now even the Russians are denying it. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova responded to all the questions on Facebook with this: “Guys, have you been reading American newspapers again? You shouldn’t read them. You can put them to various uses, but you shouldn’t read them. Lately it’s become not only harmful, but dangerous too.”
Sure, it’s easy to dismiss what a Russian government spokeswoman says (although she’s right about American newspapers having some real uses; just ask my friends who run a parrot rescue and need plenty of bird cage liner.) But it really tells you something about how far their reputations for journalistic integrity have fallen that when even a spokeswoman for the Russian government denounces a Washington Post story as fake news, you find yourself more inclined to believe her than the Post.
The names “Washington Post” and “New York Times” used to stand for the highest standards of quality in their field. Now when you see them, you immediately suspect you’re about to be exposed to shoddy, fourth-rate dreck. Congratulations, guys: you’re now the “National Lampoons” of journalism.
Today's newsletter also includes a guest blog post from Matt Wilson regarding the Comey Memo. Matt is a brilliant attorney who once worked for me. He has powerful questions the NY Times ought to ask. I encourage you to read it and then share his blog.
The Comey Memo
By Matt Wilson
The New York Times is reporting tonight that President Trump asked former Director Comey to stop the Flynn investigation.
In effect, the Times, based solely upon the word of James Comey, is insinuating, if not directly stating, that the President obstructed justice.
I have serious questions about James Comey's credibility in this regard.
18 USC § 4 reads: "Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."
This is called misprision of a felony.
Concealing knowledge of a felony and failure to report is, itself, a felony.
First, if the former FBI director was taking notes of meetings where the President had allegedly told him to drop a criminal investigation (i.e., to obstruct justice), then why did Comey wait until now to reveal this? In fact, by keeping his notes private until now, he was concealing them. Right? (That is the first element of misprision -- concealment.)
Second, if Comey did not reveal this information "as soon as possible ... to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States," then that means only one of two things ---
(A) Comey did not think the President had committed any crime, or
(B) Comey was committing a crime, himself, (i.e. misprision of a felony) in order to have something to hold over the President.
On the other hand, if he did, in fact, reveal this to a judge, or to the Attorney General, or to any other person in authority, then by revealing this information to the press, Comey may be impeding an active investigation.
So if these memos actually do exist, this does not look good for Comey. Which makes me wonder if they do, in fact, exist.
If I were Comey, I would certainly lawyer up and plead the 5th if he is called to testify before Congress.
By Mike Huckabee
Inconvenient questions: if President Trump really asked James Comey to end his investigation of Michael Flynn, and if Comey really wrote that in a memo as the New York Times claims, then why did Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe (hardly a Trump fan) testify under oath to Congress that “there has been no effort to impede our investigation” by the White House? Obviously, McCabe needs to start reading the Times instead of internal FBI memos so he'll know what's really going on.
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