May 12, 2017

What did the president decide and when did he decide it?

If you are my age or older, that phrase has a nice Watergate ring to it, as you remember Sen. Howard Baker's "What did the president know and when did he know it?" question about Tricky Dick Nixon.

Of course, the question proved to be rhetorical bravado as much as anything. When it became more clear what Nixon knew, and how early, Baker's inquisitiveness ran dry.

So, along those lines, what did the president decide, and when did he decide it? And why?

On the Comey firing, of course.

I'm still not convinced that Dipstick Donald did this as part of some conspiracy, let alone one with Russkie connections. Not even close, as I noted yesterday.

But, we're no closer today than we were 24 or 48 hours ago to knowing the why.  Trump's original claim continues to unravel. The latest claim is that Trump asked Comey to be his consigliere, Comey said no, and that was that. This would fit the "timeline" issue, as it was reportedly just a week after Trump's inauguration. And, it makes much more sense than him being the third domino to get knocked down by Trump in a Russia-related conspiracy. Another Times story indicates that Comey's semi-mocking response to Trump's "Obama bugged me" lit the fuse on the firing process.

If true, and if Comey is asked before either the House or Senate intelligence committees, will he swear to it? Or, worried about that, will the Congressional GOP work overtime to block this?

Per the Times account, the "consigliere" link, either Trump or Comey's lying at a Hitlerian level, and my bet on which one is doing that? More interestingly, The Donald is doubling down on either stupidity, paranoia, or some combo, warning Comey about "tapes."

As for the firing itself? Sean Spicer was blindsided by it, yet another reflection of a White House that, contra to Nixon's, can't manage or organize its way out of a wet paper bag. (That, too, should be no surprise. Just look at Trump's business record.)

And, if he is on his way out, Spicer, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is proving to be an even greater hack as a press officer. Given her dad, that also should be no surprise.

Trump is now reportedly dumping on Spicer, per some insider rumors, while other insider rumors say, no, Spicer is in no trouble.

As for claims that Dipstick Donald is facing a "credibility crisis"?

Er, a person has to have a previous storehouse of credibility to later fall into a "credibility crisis."

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.

And, no, I won't accept the excuse that Rosenstein is new to his current job, or that he's that far removed from Trump's inner circles.

Speaking of, dear NYT, Rosenstein is not yet willing to admit he got played like a $2 pussy-grabbing by Trump.

Meanwhile, Pro Publica says that Comey, in the Huma Abedin emails investigation, was poorly served by FBI field agents on the case, plus worried about leaks from other, anti-Clinton, agents. The indications are that, if the case had been handled well and correctly, he never would have felt the "nauseous" need to speak — and wouldn't have.

However, at the same time, Peter Elkind also takes special care to throw Comey under the bus — more than once. Elkind has a long reputation as an investigative journalist, but it appears he's using this one for his own ends.

Maybe he should see one of Mike Ramsey's #ButHerEmails Photoshopping editorial cartoons.

That's but one of four pics in this particular Tweet, which in turn is the first of four sets of such.

As Ramsey notes, directly relevent to Eklind's story, one of Hillary Clinton's emails indicate she thought Lynch would give her whatever cover she needed.

Basically, more than half the piece is rehashing old issues with Elkind using his own leakers, presumably old DOJ folks who are friends of Bill and Hillary, to do a takedown of Comey underneath the ostensible takedown of FBI agents.

Well, that's enough for now.

In any case ....

Ultimately, as Jeff St. Clair notes, James Comey is ultimately a figure deserving of little sympathy. Yet Trump has now given him that.

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