May 09, 2017

#Hillbots are still "Shattered" about James Comey

BREAKING (May 9): Comey has just been fired by President Trump. And no, I do not think there's a Nixonian-type conspiracy behind this, conjoined with other Trump firings.

That said, why?

Here's my theory.

Trump knew that Comey was actually an agent of Vladimir Putin. And, he knew that Rachel Maddow was about to find out. Voila! No choice but to fire him.

More seriously, the firing has a mix of schadenfreude and MAGA-grade bullshit. The two combine, as shown in the firing letter by Trump based on the firing recommendation letters of AG Jeff Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. They claim, Rosenstein especially, that he's being fired because he mishandled Hillary's emails, notably overriding AG Loretta Lynch, and that they thus have no confidence in him.

There IS a grain of truth there. They're afraid he'll do the same to Sessions. (That said, remember when Democrats like Chuck Schumer had no confidence in Comey? Schadenfreude!)

And, it appears they shut the barn door after the horses were out. CNN reports that federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Virginia, have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of Michael Flynn.

Yes, it is Watergate-like, in a small degree. Whether it's like Watergate in a big degree or not depends on whether or not Sessions, through Rosenstein, try to retroactively annul or quash those subpoenas.

And, the newest revelation is that Trump wanted Comey to be his consigliere, and put on the ask just a week after inauguration. Read here.

That said, for the Hillbots? Guess what — more birds come home more tightly to roost.

Finally, don't forget my snark of last week about Comey's secret revelations to the Senate. If there's one thing I love as much as the smell of schadenfreude in the morning, it's the sound of petards hoisting.

Sidebar: I don't care how long he's been in DOJ under how many bipartisan administrations, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein does have a credibility crisis. No, per Watergate, he has a credibility gap — one of his own making, by authoring the "here's your reasons, Mr. President" letter.

Unless he immediately states that the president kept him in the dark on some issues, the idea that the NYT editorial board can appeal to alleged past credibility is a laugher. If he really were going to be an Elliot Richardson or William Ruckelshaus, he never would have written that letter in the first place.

==

It's been revealed (by who? some leaker inside the FBI? a minority-side Senate staffer? per Pro Publica, one leaker of two appears to be FBI  scratch that, could be Rod Roseinstein! AG's office is law enforcement) that James Comey overstated to the Senate how many emails of Huma Abedin's wound up on husband Anthony Weiner's magic uncircumcised 7-inch smartphone.

And, as a result, Hillbots like American Prospector Paul Waldman or general inside-the-Beltway hack Chris Cillizza are getting out the long knives to shiv Comey as much as they can. And they're dishing hard.

Of course, none of them yet wants to talk about Hillary Clinton's private email server. Or her generally inept, as well as overly buttoned-down, campaign. (Just like in 2008.)

Per that Pro Publica link, I would like to know more about why Comey said "hundreds" or "thousands" of emails, of course. But, so far at least, PP's story didn't have the leg length of the leakers telling us about any "why," or if this got any pushback within the Bureau — whether in advance, if anybody knew in advance that Comey would mention numbers, or afterward if not, or other things.

That said, PP's story is a story. It's not a column, which Waldman's straightforwardly is, or a column masquerading as a story, which Cillizza's is.

Let’s dig deeper. First, Waldman:
Every time he’s forced to answer questions about his extraordinary decision to inject himself into the 2016 presidential campaign a mere 11 days before the election ...
No mention of Loretta Lynch meeting the Slickster on the Phoenix tarmac. No mention, per the likes of Ted Rall, about Obama himself upset at being blind-sided over Clinton’s private email server.

And Cillizza:
For Clinton and her allies, Comey's mistake is further evidence of his botched handling of the investigation into her private email server and the role he played — wittingly or unwittingly — in shaping the 2016 election. 
Clinton, in a conversation with CNN's Christiane Amanpour last week, blamed Comey's letter to members of Congress on October 28 — informing them that the Weiner-Abedin computer had been found and the investigation re-opened — for her loss at the hands of Donald Trump. 
"I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey's letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off," Clinton said. "And the evidence for that intervening event is compelling, persuasive."
Again, no mention of the background. But Cillizza DID include this:
But he went ahead with it anyway. 
And concluded with this (emphasis mine):

This misstatement by Comey further muddies the conversation about what exact role he played in the 2016 election and what role he wanted to play.
OK there.

I'm no apologist for Comey. I know he's a bureaucrat par excellence who has polished his own apple pretty well ever since the John Ashcroft bedside scene nearly 15 years ago.

But the reality is? At this point, Comey could emit an Al Gore-style sigh and get jumped on by some people.

In short, they're "shattered" about Comey but not at all about the "Shattered" revelations in detail about all of the above. (And more. From stuff I've read, Clinton may even have thrown Abedin herself under the bus.)

That said, to go beyond the eight facts the Federalist points to from the book, is a fact nine.

Whether it's blaming Comey, or blaming Vlad the Impaler Putin, the blame game continues to come from the Democratic para-Party think tank apparatus.

This, as much as apparatchik retread in Tom Perez as DNC chairman, is half the problem. As long as they focus on the alleged "who kneecapped Hillary" rather than "we helped Hillary kneecap" herself, the think-tank Waldmans and the pundit Cillizzas will help the DNC perpetuate neoliberal dreck as party ideas as well as party leadership. But, when "exposure" actually is good coin of the realm, such stances aren't likely to change.

At the same time, the answer of many Berniecrats is no answer either. Starting a third party when the Green Party already exists? I mean, Rocky Anderson's Justice Party is already one new third party of the left too many, and I still suspect Naderite hands behind its founding.

That said, a TV series based on the book? Kind of laughable to me. If it happened, who plays Hillary. Not Kate McKinnon from SNL, I don't think. Age-appropriate? The Greek goddess, Arianna Huffington.

In any case, per Ted Rall's latest, the blame game and the shivs won't change reality.

At the same time, as Jeff St. Clair notes, James Comey is ultimately a figure deserving of little sympathy.

Yes, we're learning more about how many previously undisclosed contacts Flynn, or other Trump surrogates, had with Kislyak or other Russians. Again, though, none of them illegal. And, really, other than the non-disclosure, none unethical. And, Counterpunch is probably right in that the national security establishment is working hand-in-hand with the mainstream media (whose leakers about Trump's Israeli intell leaking may be worse than Trump's original leaking) to make this nothingburger into a Big Mac.

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