Government Dependency

The Pronk Pops Show 1064, April 19, 2018, Story 1: Department of Justice Inspector General Sends Criminal Referral for Former FBI Deputy Director For authorizing the disclosure of sensitive information to the media, then lied repeatedly to investigators examining the matter — Videos — Story 2: Will Former FBI Director James Comey and Former FBI Deputy Director Be Testifying Against Each Other — Videos — Story 3: A Sitting President Cannot Be Indicted For Exercising Presidential Actions Yet President Trump Was Informed By Deputy Attorney General Informed Trump That He Is Not Target (So What) of a Trump Lawyer Cohen Investigation and Mueller Investigation  — President Hires Former Mayor of New York and Federal Prosecutor Rudy Guilliani To Deal With Mueller Investigation — Videos — Story 4: Countdown To Attorney General Session Appoint of Second Special Counsel — No Later Than May 1, 2018 — Videos

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Story 1: Department of Justice Inspector General Sends Criminal Referral for Former FBI Deputy Director For authorizing the disclosure of sensitive information to the media, then lied repeatedly to investigators examining the matter — Videos —

Will the US attorney’s office act on criminal referral for McCabe?

Ken Starr on McCabe criminal referral, Comey’s memos

GOP lawmakers seek justice on Comey, McCabe, Clinton, Lynch

Evidence of Hillary Clinton’s guilt is overwhelming: Judge Napolitano

Is Trump in the clear, but McCabe in trouble?

Inspector general referred findings on McCabe to U.S. attorney for consideration of criminal charges

 Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on March 16, shortly before McCabe was set to retire.
 April 19 at 6:58 PM 

The Justice Department inspector general referred his finding that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe repeatedly misled investigators to Washington’s top federal prosecutor, who will determine whether McCabe should be charged with a crime, according to people familiar with the matter.

The referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia occurred some time ago, after the inspector general concluded McCabe had lied to investigators or his boss, then-FBI Director James B. Comey, on four occasions, three of them under oath.

The U.S. attorney’s office met with McCabe’s legal team in recent weeks, though it was not immediately clear whether prosecutors there were conducting their own investigation or believed criminal charges are appropriate.

The referral raises the possibility that McCabe could be charged and jailed for his alleged misconduct — perhaps with Comey testifying as a witness against him. A referral to federal prosecutors, though, does not necessarily mean McCabe will be charged.

Michael R. Bromwich, McCabe’s lawyer, said in a statement: “We were advised of the referral within the past few weeks. Although we believe the referral is unjustified, the standard for an [inspector general] referral is very low. We have already met with staff members from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We are confident that, unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the Administration, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will conclude that it should decline to prosecute.”

President Trump, apparently referring to comments Comey made on CNN saying he could be called as a witness against McCabe, wrote on Twitter: “James Comey just threw Andrew McCabe ‘under the bus.’ Inspector General’s Report on McCabe is a disaster for both of them! Getting a little (lot) of their own medicine?”

The Justice Department, the inspector general’s office and the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment Thursday.

Last week, Inspector General Michael Horowitz sent to Congress a report blasting McCabe. It says he inappropriately authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to the media, then lied repeatedly to investigators examining the matter. The report laid out in stunning detail allegations that McCabe had deceived investigators about his role in approving the disclosure, even as he lashed out at others in the FBI for leaks.

McCabe disputes many of the report’s findings and has said he never meant to mislead anyone.

Lying to federal investigators is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison, and some legal analysts speculated in the wake of the report that the inspector general seemed to be laying out a case for accusing McCabe of such conduct. The report alleged that one of McCabe’s lies “was done knowingly and intentionally” — a key aspect of the federal crime.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe from the FBI last month, just 26 hours before McCabe could retire, denying him some of his retirement benefits and reigniting the political firestorm that has long surrounded McCabe. Trump had repeatedly and publicly attacked McCabe, and McCabe alleged that his termination was politically motivated.

“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally,” McCabe said in a statement on the night he was removed from the FBI. “It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.”

McCabe would raise over a half-million dollars for a legal-defense fund through a GoFundMe page. His firing was recommended by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, based on the inspector general’s findings.

Separately this week, 11 House Republicans asked Sessions, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber to explore whether McCabe — along with a host of other Justice Department officials — committed crimes in their handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server, the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and other matters. Sessions has tasked Huber with looking into a range of GOP concerns.

The referral from the inspector general to the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office is thought to be far more serious, as inspector general investigators are nonpartisan lawyers and agents who look into wrongdoing for a living.

Comey — who appointed McCabe to his post as the No. 2 official in the FBI — stressed in his book released this week the importance of telling the truth to federal investigators and holding accountable those who do not. Asked about the referral during an appearance Thursday on CNN, Comey said he “could well be a witness” against McCabe and that he felt “conflicted” about the matter.

“I like him very much as a person, but sometimes even good people do things they shouldn’t do,” Comey said of his former deputy. He called the inspector general’s investigation an example of “accountability mechanisms working.”

Comey wrote in his book that as he weighed whether to charge Martha Stewart with such an offense in the early 2000s, he asked his deputy how many people in the United States had been indicted on charges of lying to federal investigators in the previous year. The deputy told him the answer was 2,000. Comey wrote that he told his staff to indict Stewart.

“People must fear the consequences of lying in the justice system or the system can’t work,” he wrote.

The disclosure of which McCabe was accused of authorizing came in October 2016, around the time Comey announced the FBI was resuming its probe of Clinton’s use of a private email server. At the time, Devlin Barrett — then a reporter at the Wall Street Journal — was preparing an article on the bureau’s handling of that case and another investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe felt the article would portray him and the FBI unfairly, so he authorized two other FBI officials to give Barrett his account. Barrett now works for The Washington Post.

Background conversations with reporters in Washington are commonplace, and McCabe had the authority, as the FBI’s deputy director, to authorize them. But the inspector general came to conclude he was acting out of self interest and that it violated FBI policy.

Of particular concern was that McCabe effectively authorized the FBI to confirm an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation by revealing a phone call in which he pushed back against a Justice Department official who warned that the bureau should not be taking overt steps in the case close to an election. McCabe asked the official, “Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?”

The inspector general wrote that Comey inquired with his deputy about the disclosure, and McCabe led him to believe he did not know who was responsible. McCabe’s team, though, disputes that and says emails between the two “clearly show that Mr. McCabe specifically advised Director Comey that he was working with colleagues at the FBI to correct inaccuracies in the story before it was published, and that they remained in contact through the weekend while the work was taking place.”

Inspector general investigators came to believe Comey, and they alleged that McCabe lied on three other occasions to them and the FBI’s inspection division. Comey said in an appearance on “The View” this week: “I still believe Andrew McCabe is a good person, but the inspector general found that he lied, and there’s severe consequences in the Justice Department for lying — as there should be throughout the government.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/inspector-general-referred-findings-on-mccabe-to-us-attorney-for-consideration-of-criminal-charges/2018/04/19/a200cabc-43f3-11e8-8569-26fda6b404c7_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.1961da82464a

Justice Dept inspector asks US attorney to consider criminal charges for McCabe: reports

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has issued a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. related to fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a lawyer for McCabe confirmed on Thursday.

McCabe was informed of the referral “within the past few weeks,” according to the lawyer, Michael Bromwich, who called it “unjustified” and noted that “the standard for an IG referral is very low.”
It is not clear whether the U.S. attorney’s office has acted on the referral, which came after the inspector general concluded that McCabe had lied to internal investigators and former FBI Director James Comey over his contacts with the media during the 2016 election.
Referrals don’t guarantee charges will be brought or require prosecutors to act in any way. McCabe and his lawyers have met with staff members from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bromwich said.
Spokesmen for Horowitz’s office, the U.S. attorney’s office and the Justice Department all declined to comment.

Horowitz last week issued a scathing report of McCabe’s conduct at the FBI, alleging that he authorized a leak to the media in order to “advance his personal interests” and then misled internal investigators and Comey about the matter.

Lying to federal investigators is a federal crime and the report was seen by some analysts as a roadmap for federal charges against McCabe.

McCabe has disputed the charges as politically motivated and said he did not intentionally mislead anyone. His attorney responded immediately on Friday, saying the report “utterly failed to support the decision to terminate Mr. McCabe.”

According to the report, McCabe led Comey to believe that he had not authorized the disclosures that lead to the media story in question and did not know who did. He allegedly made the same statement to internal investigators when questioned under oath months later — only to later correct his statement to the inspector general’s investigators.

“We found it extremely unlikely, as McCabe now claims, that he not only told Comey about his decision to authorize the disclosure, but that Comey thought it was a ‘good’ idea for McCabe to have taken that action,” the report states.

The report was met with glee by conservatives as well as President Trump, who tweeted that the report was a “disaster” that showed McCabe”lied! lied! lied!” and that “McCabe is Comey!”

A group of 11 House conservatives recently issued their own referral on McCabe — and a large group of other Obama-era officials — asking for an investigation into whether he committed perjury and other crimes.That referral was made to AttorneyGeneral Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber.

McCabe has been a target on the right following the revelation that his wife, Jill, received political donations from Hillary Clinton ally and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) in a failed state Senate campaign.

The campaign predated McCabe’s stint as deputy director of the FBI, when he had a leadership role in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server and the Clinton Foundation.

The inspector general report reveals that he recused himself from the two investigations just days before the election.

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/383979-justice-department-inspector-general-issues-criminal-referral-of

Story 2: Lying Leaker Losers Fired Former FBI Director Comey and and Deputy Director McCabe — Will Former FBI Director James Comey and Former FBI Deputy Director Be Testifying Against Each Other? — Yes If There Is A Prosecution —  Flipping Felons — Videos

Alan Dershowitz, Gregg Jarrett on the release of Comey memos

Republicans and Democrats on the Hill react to Comey memos

Trump tweets: Comey threw McCabe ‘under the bus’

DOJ turns over Comey memos

What’s one word you would use to describe James Comey?

GOP lawmakers seek justice on Comey, McCabe, Clinton, Lynch

Inspector General report will determine if Comey or McCabe lied: Grassley

FISA memo reason enough to halt the Mueller investigation?

Did the FISA abuse memo force McCabe out?

Former US attorney: FBI officials will likely face charges

Trey Gowdy Weighs in on the Newly Released Comey Memos

James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director.CreditDamon Winter/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Memos written by the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, that were released on Thursday revealed several new details about his relationship with President Trump and the president’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

Though much of what the memos describe was already public, the documents themselves provided an intimate portrait of the early months of the Trump White House and how the president and Mr. Priebus confronted leaks, the prospect that the national security adviser was under investigationand allegations about Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia.

Mr. Comey depicts Mr. Trump as a man engrossed to the point of distraction with political rivalries and fears that bureaucrats and government officials, including in the F.B.I., were trying to undermine his legitimacy.

[Read the memos here.]

The president responded late Thursday by insisting that the memos showed no collusion with Moscow’s election interference and that Mr. Comey had erred by leaking classified information. The memos were reviewed by Justice Department officials before being released.

Here are six takeaways:

Trump’s Preoccupation With the Dossier

Shortly before Mr. Trump was inaugurated, Mr. Comey briefed him at Trump Tower about a dossier compiled for the F.B.I. by a former British spy that said Mr. Trump and his associates had longstanding ties to Russia. In its most salacious allegation, the document said that the Russian government had a tape of Mr. Trump watching prostitutes urinate on one another during a trip to Moscow for the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant.

Mr. Trump denied the episode had taken place and appeared to Mr. Comey to be defending himself. Mr. Comey replied that the allegations could have been made up, but that the job of the F.B.I. was to protect the president from efforts to coerce him.

Though Mr. Trump ended the meeting genially, the accusations clearly stuck with him, Mr. Comey’s memos showed. At least twice more in the ensuing weeks, Mr. Trump laid out a timeline for Mr. Comey and claimed that it showed that such a tape could not exist.

THE DAILY

Listen to ‘The Daily’: James Comey on Ego, Distrust and More

In an interview with Michael Barbaro, the former F.B.I. director explains his decision to make public his notes of his interactions with President Trump.

According to the memos, the president told Mr. Comey in a one-on-one dinner at the White House later in January 2017 that he had spoken with several people who had been on the trip with him. Mr. Trump said those people “reminded” him that he did not stay overnight in Moscow.

Mr. Trump said that he had arrived in the morning, attended a series of events, then went to a hotel to shower and dress for the pageant, leaving Russia afterward.

In a February 2017 meeting in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey “‘the hookers thing’ is nonsense” but that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had told him that the country had “some of the most beautiful hookers in the world.”

The Dossier’s Allegations Were Corroborated

Mr. Comey’s decision to brief Mr. Trump on the dossier was based, at least in part, on the fact that American intelligence agencies had corroborated parts of the dossier, according to the memos.

“I explained that the analysts from all three agencies agreed it was relevant and that portions of the material were corroborated by other intelligence,” Mr. Comey wrote in a memo in February 2017, describing how he responded to a question from Mr. Priebus about why he told the president-elect a month earlier about the dossier.

Parts of the memo are redacted but appear to say that information in the dossier “was consistent with and corroborated by other intelligence, and that the incoming president needed to know the rest of it was out there.”

President Trump and his first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, both met privately with the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey during their first weeks in the White House. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Trump’s Focus on McCabe, Then a Relative Unknown

Mr. Trump also raised on several occasions Mr. Comey’s deputy at the F.B.I., Andrew G. McCabe, according to the memos. Mr. McCabe had been the subject of right-wing attacks over his involvement in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information while secretary of state. His wife, Jill, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations for her failed Virginia State Senate campaign from a political committee run by a longtime Clinton ally.

Some conservatives insisted that Mr. McCabe should have recused himself from the Clinton investigation to avoid bias, and Mr. Trump joined in those attacks on the campaign trail.

According to the memos, Mr. Trump asked Mr. Comey during their January dinner whether Mr. McCabe “had a problem” with the president.

“I was pretty rough on him and his wife during the campaign,” Mr. Trump ventured. Mr. Comey tried to smooth over the issue by explaining that F.B.I. agents and officials pride themselves on being apolitical.

“l explained that Andy was a true professional and had no problem at all,” Mr. Comey wrote. “I then explained what F.B.I. people were like, that whatever their personal views, they strip them when they step into their bureau roles and actually hold ‘political people’ in slight contempt without regard to party.”

The president broached the subject again during dinner, and the F.B.I. director repeated his response.

Photo

Memos written last year by the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, and released on Thursday depict President Trump as preoccupied with political rivalries and fears that government officials were trying to undermine his presidency. CreditSusan Walsh/Associated Press

“I again affirmed Andy’s ability and professionalism and said the president would come to see and benefit from both,” Mr. Comey wrote.

In an Oval Office meeting weeks later, Mr. Trump brought up Mr. McCabe again.

“He asked (as he had at our dinner) whether my deputy had a problem with him, and recounting how hard he had been on the campaign trail, saying, ‘The No. 2 guy at the F.B.I. took a million dollars from the Clintons.’”

Mr. Comey said he again explained that Mr. McCabe was “a pro” and had never mentioned Mr. Trump’s attacks.

What Priebus Knew

At their dinner, Mr. Trump gave contradictory explanations about whether Mr. Priebus knew they were meeting.

Early on, as they discussed whom Mr. Comey’s point of contact should be at the White House, Mr. Trump said that “Reince doesn’t know we are having dinner” but that Mr. Comey should plan to go to him.

But as Mr. Comey was preparing to leave the White House that night, Mr. Trump told him: ”Reince knows we are having dinner’ (the opposite of what he said earlier),” according to one memo.

Mr. Comey neither explained nor speculated why Mr. Trump contradicted himself.

The Flynn Investigation

In their own meeting on Feb. 8, 2017, Mr. Priebus tried to ask Mr. Comey whether the F.B.I. was wiretapping the national security adviser at the time, Michael T. Flynn.

Weeks earlier, reports had emerged that Mr. Flynn was overheard on a wiretap talking with the Russian ambassador to the United States about sanctions being imposed by the Obama administration as punishment for its election interference. The calls raised concerns among senior law enforcement and intelligence agencies that Mr. Flynn might have been working to help the Russians.

Mr. Comey’s answer was redacted in the released version of the memos. But it is widely believed that Mr. Flynn was overheard on the wiretap because American intelligence agencies routinely listen in on the calls of foreign ambassadors.

Mr. Comey said he then explained how such questions should be routed from the White House counsel’s office to the Justice Department.

“I explained that it was important that communications about any particular case go through that channel to protect us and to protect the W.H. from any accusations of improper influence,” Mr. Comey said, using shorthand for the White House.

Hunting Leakers

In one February conversation, the two men discussed leaks in the news media at length. By then, Mr. Trump had endured several embarrassing disclosures of classified information, including transcripts of his calls with foreign leaders in which he was short with the leaders of American allies, including Australia and Mexico.

In his memo, Mr. Comey explained how he hoped to catch one of the leakers to set an example.

“I said I was eager to find leakers and would like to nail one to the door as a message,” Mr. Comey said. “I said something about it being difficult and he replied that we need to go after the reporters and referred to the fact that 10 or 15 years ago, we put them in jail to find what they know and it worked.”

 

Mr. Trump then mentioned Judith Miller, a former reporter for The New York Times. In 2005, Ms. Miller was jailed for 85 days for refusing to testify and reveal her confidential source about the identity of a former C.I.A. operative, Valerie Plame, before relenting.

“I explained that I was a fan of pursuing leaks aggressively but that going after reporters was tricky, for legal reasons and because D.O.J. tends to approach it conservatively,” Mr. Comey said. The president, he said, suggested he speak to Attorney General Jeff Sessions about being more aggressive in prosecuting leaks.

What was new — and disturbing — about the Comey memos


Copies of the memos written by then-FBI Director James B. Comey. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)
 April 20 at 6:45 PM

There was not much the public did not already know in the Comey memos that leaked to the mediaThursday. The contents of the documents, in which then-FBI Director James B. Comey contemporaneously kept track of his interactions with President Trump over the course of 2017, had already been mostly disclosed. But there are two elements that nevertheless stood out, adding detail to the picture of a president dismissive of democratic norms and distracted by his obsessions.

First is Mr. Trump’s private expressions of contempt for press freedom. According to a Feb. 14, 2017, memo, the president said Mr. Comey should jail journalists to compel them to identify government leakers, as Justice Department officials did in 2005 with New York Times reporter Judith Miller. When the FBI director said that such a plan would face legal barriers as well as reticence at the Justice Department, the president ordered Mr. Comey to talk to the attorney general about “being more aggressive,” saying, “They spend a couple days in jail, make a new friend, and they are ready to talk,” according to the memo. In response to this disgusting statement, Mr. Comey writes he laughed and exited the room.

Mr. Trump would not be the first president to bemoan leaks, but a president repeatedly suggesting the imprisonment of journalists should be unfathomable in a country committed to freedom of expression. It rings all the more threatening in the context of Mr. Trump’s historic hostility toward the media, which includes calling to “loosen” up libel laws , encouraging crowds at his campaign rallies to turn and jeer at the peaceful press corps behind them, and transforming the term “fake news” into a phrase now used by dictators across the world to dismiss truthful reporting they do not like. Meanwhile, his vulgar reference to making “a new friend” in prison trivializes the dehumanizing torture of prison rape that too many inmates continue to suffer. These comments deserved not a laugh from Mr. Comey, but the cold silence he reported giving to many of Mr. Trump’s other disturbing remarks.

What also comes through clearly in the Comey memos is the president’s intense preoccupation with allegations that he interacted with Russian prostitutes during a 2013 trip to Moscow. Mr. Comey recorded that Mr. Trump raised the story in multiple meetings, asking the FBI director to investigate and rebut the allegation, a mission from which Mr. Comey demurred. The fact that the Russians interfered in the 2016 election or the threat that the Kremlin may be trying to influence the president and his circle got no such attention, at least if Mr. Comey’s account is remotely representative of the president’s behavior. Protecting himself, not preserving national security, appears to be Mr. Trump’s overriding goal.

For his part, the president has said that Mr. Comey is a liar but also that Mr. Comey’s memos exonerate him. The claim is as credible as it is logical.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/what-was-new–and-disturbing–about-the-comey-memos/2018/04/20/27521412-44d7-11e8-ad8f-27a8c409298b_story.html?utm_term=.16310f2e17f9

 

Story 3: A Sitting President Cannot Be Indicted Yet President Trump Was Informed By Deputy Attorney General Informed Trump That He Is Not Target (So What) of a Trump Lawyer Cohen Investigation and Mueller Investigation  — President Hires Former Mayor of New York and Federal Prosecutor Rudy Guilliani To Deal With Mueller Investigation — Videos —

Levin: Trump cannot be the target of an investigation

Mark Levin on Comey Memos and More. This is Good

Hannity: Good news for Trump, crushing blows for the left

DOJ Inspector General Refers McCabe For Criminal Charges

Trump receives assurance from Rosenstein, adds Giuliani to team

Why Did President Donald Trump Add Rudy Giuliani To His Legal Team? | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

Dershowitz: Giuliani a ‘very good choice’ for Trump legal team

James Comey: Rudy Giuliani Boasts Prompted Investigation Into FBI Leaks | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Mueller team skeptical of Giuliani claims probe will end in weeks: Gasparino

James Comey Memos Immediately Leaked After FBI Delivers To Congress | Rachel Maddow | MSNBC

Wow. Jim Jordan on IG Report About McCabe, Mueller, FBI Corruption, and the Swamp

Can Donald Trump be indicted while serving as president?

Two lines of legal reasoning say he can’t. They’re both wrong.

 February 27

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University.

In December 1998, President Bill Clinton thanked Democratic members of the House who voted against impeachment. (Rick Bowmer/The Washington Post)

The news this month is full of accounts of chief executives facing indictments. In Missouri, Gov. Eric Greitens has been charged with criminal invasion of privacy. In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to be indicted on charges of “bribery, fraud and breach of trust.” Both men are expected to stay in office despite criminal charges. The cases highlight a looming question in Washington about whether President Trump could also be indicted in office.

With 19 people charged by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III (including five cooperating witnesses), some believe a case against Trump is imminent. “I’d bet against the president,” a lawyer for a target of the Russia probe told Politico. But even some of Trump’s critics assert that, unlike governors or foreign leaders, the president of the United States cannot be indicted while in office. Many scholars like Yale professor Akhil Reed Amar insist that “The Framers implicitly immunized a sitting president from ordinary criminal prosecution.”

The “implicit” part is the problem. This remains a matter of interpretation and, in my view, a faulty and dangerous one. The case for collusion or obstruction of justice does not yet appear to exist, but if it did, Mueller could indict the president.

The question of whether a sitting president can be charged ultimately turns on which you think is worse: an indicted president or an immunized president who remains in the Oval Office. This debate has long entertained constitutional law professors, alongside other parlor-game questions like presidential emoluments, self-pardons and presidential obstruction. The Trump administration has the dubious distinction of moving all of these questions from the realms of the hypothetical to the actual.

There is one point upon which constitutional scholars uniformly agree: The best course in dealing with a felonious president is to first remove the president from office through the impeachment process and then indict the former president in the wake of the Senate conviction. That is no favor to a president. Impeachment is not subject to the rules of criminal procedure and does not include most of the due process protections afforded to criminal defendants such as evidentiary protections and prohibitions against hearsay evidence. It can also undermine a criminal defense in a later prosecution by inducing statements from a president that could later be used against him in a criminal trial.

Impeachment is hardly a reliable answer to presidential transgressions. First, the crimes of a president may be popular. (The public overlooked Abraham Lincoln’s blatantly unconstitutional unilateral suspension of habeas corpus.) Second, a president’s party can control one or both houses of Congress and simply shield the party leader from removal.

Opinion | If President Trump fires the bane of his legal troubles, he could spark a legal and constitutional crisis. 

There are times when a criminal prosecution may be the only answer for a criminal chief executive. In the case of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, years of alleged special dealing produced no impeachment. Only after he was charged in office did the Illinois legislature vote to remove him. But is a president inherently different from a governor? When he was solicitor general of the United States, Robert Bork wrote a brief saying that a vice president (like Spiro Agnew) could be indicted in office but not a sitting president. Leon Jaworski, the Watergate special prosecutor, disagreed and suggested that such an indictment might be possible. Recently released material related to the Clinton impeachment shows that the staff of independent counsel Kenneth Starr prepared a memo supporting the indictment of a president and drafted indictments for Bill Clinton.

The Justice Department itself concluded during the Clinton administration that “[n]either the text nor the history of the Constitution” is “dispositive” on this question but has rendered an internal opinion against indictments of a sitting president as a matter of “considerations of constitutional structure.” Mueller (who is supposed to follow the “rules, regulations, procedures, practices and policies” of the Department) may consider himself bound to this guidance and put evidence of any crime in a report to Congress for possible impeachment.

But what if Mueller didn’t? A Trump indictment would need to overcome two common “inferential” arguments for presidential immunity based on “the uniqueness of the president himself.”

The exclusivity argument

The leading argument against indicting a sitting president is that the Constitution does not say you can do it. There is an enumerated process for removing a president, and that is impeachment: “Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal of office,” it says. But impeachment is a mechanism for Congress to remove, not punish, a president. The Framers were acutely aware of Parliament’s abuses with forms of legislative punishments and fines. They barred such “bills of attainder” and further limited the function of impeachment to removal.

If impeachment is about denying someone the powers of an office, indictment is about holding an individual liable for criminal acts. Impeachment is about the office while indictments are about the individual. Judges, too, can be impeached — even from positions of lifetime tenure — but nobody holds that they cannot also be charged and convicted while still on the bench. Rep. Alcee Hastings was a federal judge in Florida when he was indicted in 1981. He stood trial in 1983 and was acquitted. It was not until 1988 that Hastings was impeached and later removed from the bench. Likewise, the chief executives of states (with many of the same powers as presidents) have been indicted in office, including the recent indictment of Greitens.

Constitutional provisions often require interpretation, including those affording greater protections under the 14th Amendment or barring the death penalty for minors. But those interpretations are based on the extension of an explicit protection while presidential immunity would create a sweeping protection. There is no evidence in either the text nor from the Constitutional Convention of any intent to create immunity for a president from indictment, even though the Framers spoke and wrote at length on the powers of the presidency.

Advocates for presidential immunity rely heavily on one line by Alexander Hamilton in “The Federalist Papers”: A president, he said, “would be liable to be impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.”

Harvard Law professor Cass Sunstein insists that this quote “means you can’t indict and try a sitting president. He has to be removed first.” It really does not. In Federalist 69, Hamilton was assuring his contemporaries that they did not have to fear the creation of a “single magistrate.” He made this statement to contrast to “[t]he person of the king of Great Britain [who] is sacred and inviolable.” He was not expounding on inherent immunity and would hardly be making such an implied argument in an essay designed to quell concerns over presidential powers. Hamilton was assuring readers that a president could be stripped of his office and still prosecuted under the Constitution.

As the Hamilton essay suggests, the Framers were worried about the powers of the chief executive, and such immunity would presumably weigh heavily in that debate, as it should in our current debate. Reading that immunity into the Framers’ silence would permit a radical expansion of the powers of the presidency — something most textualists and civil libertarians resist.

The functionality argument

Immunity advocates also argue that, regardless of the lack of textual basis, there is a practical reason the president should have immunity. After all, an indictment would prevent a president from carrying out his duties, particularly if he were sent to jail. In 1973, the Justice Department insisted that any indictment would be an unconstitutional burden since a president is “the symbolic head of the Nation. To wound him by a criminal proceeding is to hamstring the operation of the whole governmental apparatus, both in foreign and domestic affairs.”

That overwrought analysis ignores a couple practical considerations. First, it is highly unlikely that a president would be tried, let alone convicted, while in office. Not only do judges defer greatly to the schedule of presidents, but also investigations and pretrial motions can take years. Even when sentenced, appeals can take years. Moreover, if a trial is too demanding, there is the 25th Amendment that allows a president to voluntarily (and temporarily) transfer powers of his office.

The functionality argument also ignores countervailing case law. Bill Clinton spent four years advancing extreme interpretations that allowed him not to appear for a civil deposition in the Paula Jones civil lawsuit — or to seek its dismissal. The Supreme Court ruled against him in Clinton v. Jones in 1997. Yet, despite this rejection of immunity in civil litigation, academics still argue that the president could refuse to do so in a criminal prosecution on the same failed claims. Moreover, it is accepted that a president like Trump can be subject to years of intense investigation by a special counsel and is not immunized from the “distraction” of constant demands for responses, answers, testimony and privilege assertions.

The dysfunctionality caused by presidential immunity should be a greater concern for citizens than the constitutional crisis brought on by an indictment. An indicted president is a terrible proposition. But so is the continuation of a presumed felon in office — one who clings to power as a shield from accountability. If a president is immune, his supporters in Congress could prevent his removal while the statute of limitations runs out on certain crimes. Conversely, if Congress is shielding the president, an indictment can force him to address his crimes.

Admittedly, the interpretive approach against implied immunity also bars some implied interpretations that can limit presidential powers like presidential self-pardons. Just as the Constitution is silent on prosecuting a president (and thus does not bar such prosecutions), it is also silent on a president granting himself a pardon. Such pardons are presumptively permissible for the same reason that immunity is impermissible. There is no stated limit on the pardon power. Of course, if a president were to issue such a self-pardon, it would likely seal his fate for impeachment. Both the possibility of indictment and self-pardon allow for presidential crimes to be put squarely before the public.

In the end, the Constitution does not protect us from a criminal in the Oval Office. It merely gives us options in dealing with a felonious president.

[The author was the lead defense counsel in the last impeachment trial held by the Senate (of Judge Thomas Porteous) and testified in the Clinton impeachment hearings as a constitutional law expert.]

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/02/27/can-donald-trump-be-indicted-while-serving-as-president/?utm_term=.34ac157f548a

Story 4: Countdown To Attorney General Session Appoint of Second Special Counsel — No Later Than May 1, 2018 — Videos

President Trump On Firing Robert Mueller & Rosenstein 4/18/18 “They’re Still Here”

Goodlatte on Huber’s ability to investigate the DOJ, FBI

Mark Levin says it’s time for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step aside (audio from 04-09-2018)

AG Sessions appoints federal prosecutor to investigate FBI

Sessions names prosecutor investigating FBI misconduct

Jay Sekulow talks potential special counsel on FISA abuses

Jeff Sessions reacts to calls for a second special counsel

Rep. Zeldin Steps To The Podium & Reveals Exactly What Will Convince Sessions To Appoint A Second

[youtub=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjS9NwmYp_s]

Rep. Zeldin Steps To The Podium & Reveals Exactly What Will Convince Sessions To Appoint A Second

Republicans push for Jeff Sessions to appoint second special counsel

WaPo: Sessions Told White House He Might Leave If Rosenstein Is Fired | Hardball | MSNBC

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The Pronk Pops Show 1063, April 18, 2018, Story 1: House Republicans Send Criminal Referral Letter To Department of Justice Requesting Criminal Investigation of Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Director James Comey,, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, former Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, and FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — American People Demand The Appointment of Special Counsel To Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators — Bad Boys and Girls What Are You Gonna Do When They Come For You! –Videos — Story 2: American People Remember First Lady Barbara Bush — Passed Away At Age 92 — Rest In Peace — Videos

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Story 1: House Republicans Send Criminal Referral Letter To Department of Justice Requesting Criminal Investigation of Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Director James Comey,, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, former Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, and FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page — American People Demand The Appointment of Special Counsel To Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators — Bad Boys and Girls What Are You Gonna Do When They Come For You! –Videos —

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BREAKING: Lawmakers Make Criminal Referral on Clinton, Comey, Lynch to DOJ on Steele Dossier

Obama officials and FBI embattled agents also targeted for possible violations of federal law

Sara Carter

 

Congressional lawmakers made a criminal referral Wednesday to the Department of Justice Attorney General Jeff Sessions against former senior-level Obama administration officials, including employees of the FBI connected with the unverified dossier alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, as well as those involved in the warrants used to spy on a former Trump campaign volunteer, this reporter has learned. The lawmakers also made a criminal referral on former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and threats made by her DOJ against the FBI informant, who provided the bureau with information on the Russian nuclear industry and the approval in 2010 to sell roughly 20 percent of American uranium mining assets to Russia.

“We write to refer the following individuals for investigation of potential violation(s) of federal statutes,” states the letter obtained by this reporter.  “In doing so, we are especially mindful of the dissimilar degrees of zealousness that has marked the investigations into Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, respectively. Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately.”House Oversight and Government Reform Committee member Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Florida, along with ten other colleagues sent the letter Wednesday to Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray criminally referring former FBI Director James Comey, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for their involvement in the investigations into President Trump and alleged violations of federal law. FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his paramour FBI lawyer Lisa Page, whose anti-Trump text messages obtained by the DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, were also included in the referral.

The criminal referral also raises significant concerns regarding the Steele dossier, and the “presentation of false and/or unverified information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in connection with the former Trump aide Carter Page warrant application to conduct surveillance through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).” Page worked as a volunteer advisor for the Trump campaign and the information in the dossier was used in bulk by the FBI to obtain the warrants to spy on him.

“Accordingly, we refer to DOJ all DOJ and FBI personnel responsible for signing the Carter Page warrant application that contained unverified and/or false information for possible violation(s) of 18 USC 242 and 18 USC 1505 and 1515b,” the criminal referral states. It refers to a letter drafted by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes to Sessions this March.

The lawmakers noted that Comey “engaged in questionable conduct vis-à-vis President Donald Trump,” and referred to an article reported by The New York Times, in May 2017, which highlighted memos leaked by Comey to a friend that was given to the paper. In the criminal referral letter, the lawmakers state that “Comey wrote memoranda detailing alleged conversations between himself and President Trump, creating ‘a paper trail’ for ‘documenting what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation.’

The New York Times article reports that Comey “created similar memos – including some that are classified – about every phone call and meeting he had with the president,” the letter states.

The criminal referral also notes a Jan. 3, 2018, letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein from Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Charles Grassley, where committee staff reviewed the memoranda created by Comey in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility due to the classified nature of the majority of the memos; of the seven memos, four were marked classified at the “SECRET” or “CONFIDENTIAL” levels.

Comey, whose book A Higher Loyalty, released this week, argued that his memos were personal reflections about his meetings and conversations with Trump, but admitted that some contained classified material. According to FBI policy, however, the bureau forbids any agent from releasing classified information regarding ongoing investigations or sensitive operations without prior written permission. The bureau also mandates that all records created during official duties are considered to be government property.

“In light of the fact that four of the seven memos were classified, it would appear that former Director Comey leaked classified information when sharing these memos with Professor Richman. Accordingly, we refer James Comey to DOJ for potential violation(s) of 18 USC 641, 18 USC 793, and 18 USC 1924(a),” the letter states.

The congressional members also are referring former presidential candidate Clinton for her role in the dossier, assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was hired by a cutout, now embattled research firm Fusion GPS. After months of investigations by Congress, it was eventually discovered that the dossier was paid for by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee. However, the campaign did not reveal that they had allocated money to pay for the research on their disclosure forms, according to congressional members and news reports.

“A lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid Washington firm Fusion GPS to conduct research that led to the Steele dossier, according to an October 24, 2017, report in The Washington Post,” the letter states. ” Accordingly, for disguising payments to Fusion GPS on mandatory disclosures to the Federal Election Commission, we refer Hillary Clinton to DOJ for potential violation(s) of 52 USC 30121 and 52 USC 30101.”

The congressional members also are referring former presidential candidate Clinton for her role in the dossier, assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele, who was hired by a cutout, now embattled research firm Fusion GPS. After months of investigations by Congress, it was eventually discovered that the dossier was paid for by the Hillary Clinton Campaign and the Democratic National Committee. However, the campaign did not reveal that they had allocated money to pay for the research on their disclosure forms, according to congressional members and news reports.

“A lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid Washington firm Fusion GPS to conduct research that led to the Steele dossier, according to an October 24, 2017, report in The Washington Post,” the letter states. ” Accordingly, for disguising payments to Fusion GPS on mandatory disclosures to the Federal Election Commission, we refer Hillary Clinton to DOJ for potential violation(s) of 52 USC 30121 and 52 USC 30101.”

Lynch was referred after concerns were made regarding her decision to threaten with reprisal the former FBI informant, William Douglas Campbell, who first came forward in 2016 with insight into the sale of the Canadian firm Uranium One, which controlled nearly 20 percent of uranium mining interests in the United States, as previously reported.

Campbell had filed a lawsuit in Maryland federal court in 2016 against the Russian companies he was employed with and which he had kept tabs on for the FBI. He was asking for the return of the money he had to launder out of his own paychecks and had sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the DOJ for information on his case. After the DOJ received the FOIA request and the lawsuit was filed, his lawyers were advised by personnel from the Justice Department that prosecutors in the Fraud Section of the Justice Department under Lynch, demanded the withdrawal the lawsuit. According to a letter written by Campbell’s previous attorney, the DOJ threatened to destroy Campbell’s reputation and prosecute him for violating a non-disclosure agreement he had signed with the FBI.

The criminal referral on Lynch is regarding “potential violation(s) of 18 USC 1505 and 1515b,” according to the letter.

As for  Strzok and Page, the two FBI employees at the center of the Congressional investigations, the lawmakers seek the criminal referral based on the pairs “interference in the Hillary Clinton investigation regarding her use of a personal email server,” as reported.

The lawmakers point to a Jan. 22, The Wall Street Journal article regarding the Justice Department’s second release of text exchanges between Strzok and Page, and revealed that the texts “show the FBI also eliminated evidence that Mrs. Clinton compromised high-level communications.”

“The report provides the following alarming specifics, among others: ‘Mr. Strzok texts Ms. Page to tell her that, in fact, senior officials had decided to water down the reference to President Obama to ‘another senior government official,” the criminal referral states referring to the article.

Other recent documents obtained by congressional investigators also suggest possible coordination by Obama White House officials, the CIA and the FBI into the investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign. According to those documents, the senior Obama officials used unsubstantiated evidence to launch allegations in the media that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia during the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

The documents also reveal that former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, sent a letter on Aug. 29, 2016, asking former FBI Director James Comey to investigate the allegations, which were presented to him by then CIA Director John Brennan. Brennan had briefed Reid privately days earlier on the counterintelligence investigation and documents suggest Reid was also staying in close touch with Comey over the issues, as reported.

https://saraacarter.com/breaking-lawmakers-make-criminal-referral-on-clinton-comey-lynch-to-doj-on-steele-dossier/

House Republicans refer Clinton, Comey, and other top FBI officials to the Justice Department for criminal investigation

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stands during a news conference to discuss “efforts to reduce violent crime” at the Department of Justice in Washington, U.S., December 15, 2017.

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

  • Several House Republicans wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, calling on Sessions to open an investigation into former FBI Director James Comey, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other Department of Justice officials.
  • The letter outlines accusations of bias against Comey, Clinton, and other members of the FBI and Justice Department.

Several House Republicans wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, calling on Sessions to open an investigation into former FBI Director James Comey, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and other Department of Justice officials known to have been involved in the Russia investigation.

The 11 GOP lawmakers who signed the letter, which was also sent to current FBI Director Christopher Wray and US Attorney John Huber, accused Comey, Clinton, and other members of the FBI and Justice Department of bias.

The accusations of political bias toward President Donald Trump are related to events that contributed to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.

Comey, whom Trump fired last May, was accused of mishandling the investigation in Clinton’s private email server and for leaking classified information of private discussions he had with Trump.

The 11 House Republicans accused Clinton and her campaign of contributing payments that ultimately led to the creation of a dossier that detailed Trump’s alleged ties to Russia and false information against the president.

Along with Comey and Clinton, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, former Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente, and FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were named in the letter.

Lynch was accused of threatening reprisal of an FBI informant who attempted to present the Justice Department with information on the Uranium One deal in 2016.

Along with Comey, McCabe, Yates, and Boente were all accused of presenting false information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in connection with approving surveillance of former Trump aide Carter Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

McCabe and Yates, both of whom were fired, approved a FISA warrant on Page. McCabe was also accused of political bias and lack of candor in his handling of the Clinton investigation.

“Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately,” the 11 congressional members wrote in the letter.

Strzok and Page were also accused of interfering in the Clinton investigation.

http://www.businessinsider.com/house-republicans-call-for-investigation-into-comey-clinton-doj-2018-4

GOP lawmakers demand criminal probe of Comey, McCabe, Clinton, Lynch

 – The Washington Times – Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A group of conservative Republicans sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department Wednesday asking prosecutors to consider bringing charges against former FBI Director James Comey, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others involved in the probe into Mrs. Clinton’s emails.

They also complained that the FBI and Justice Department mishandled the so-called “Steele dossier” with salacious and unverified claims about then-candidate Donald Trump.

The 11 GOP lawmakers, led by Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis, said the taint of the two matters is so widespread that it demands investigations of Mr. Comey, Ms. Lynch, Mrs. Clinton, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boenta, FBI Agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Those latter two were the FBI employees whose text messages revealed some of the sordid inner workings of the Clinton email probe.

“Because we believe that those in positions of high authority should be treated the same as every other American, we want to be sure that the potential violations of law outlined below are vetted appropriately,” the lawmakers said in a referral letter.

They said Mr. Comey should be investigated for allowing politics to influence his decision not the recommend charges against Mrs. Clinton for her email misuse, and for possibly leaking classified information in memos he indirectly fed to the press after he was fired last year.

Mrs. Clinton deserves investigation because her campaign and the Democratic National Committee didn’t disclose that they paid for the research that produced the salacious Steele dossier, the lawmakers said.

 

Ms. Lynch, they said, may have threatened reprisal against an FBI informant who raised questions about Mrs. Clinton’s activities as secretary.

Mr. McCabe was dinged for having been found to have lied to Mr. Comey and to both Justice Department and FBIinvestigators about his own leaks to the press.

Agent Strzok and Ms. Page, the two FBI employees whose text messages captivated Washington earlier this year, should be probed for their roles in the Clinton email investigation, the GOP congressmen said.

And then they asked for a catch-all probe into anyone at the FBI or Justice Department who approved surveillance on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page based in part on the Steele dossier.

The referral joins a request from Sens. Charles E. Grassley and Lindsey Graham, who earlier this year asked the Justice Department to investigate Christopher Steele, the former British spy and author of the Steele dossier.

Mr. Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Mr. Graham, chairman of a key subcommittee, said Mr. Steelemisled the FBI by pushing the contents of his dossier, even though he has since said in a court case in London that he doesn’t have confidence in much of his reporting.

The lawmakers said that since the Justice Department has pursued Trump campaign figures on charges of lying to the FBI, it made sense to also look at Mr. Steele.

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/apr/18/gop-lawmakers-probe-comey-mccabe-clinton-lynch/

Comey Sticks to His Claim That Hillary Lacked Criminal Intent

FBI director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill, May 3, 2017. (Reuters photo: Kevin Lamarque)

Though the evidence that she knew what she was doing when she mishandled classified information is clear.In his testimony today before the Senate Judiciary Committee (on which I’ll have more to say in an upcoming column), FBI director James Comey has stuck by his claim that declining to bring charges against Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information was the right call because proof of intent was lacking. This is unsurprising. The director has repeated this analysis many times. It hasn’t gotten better with age, but given his insistence that “no reasonable prosecutor” could possibly disagree with him, I’m not holding my breath waiting for him to reverse himself.

In my column over the weekend, discussing a lengthy New York Times report about the Clinton e-mails investigation, I briefly rehashed why Comey is wrong about this:

This is a convoluted part of the story, stemming from the Justice Department’s effective rewriting of the applicable statute to avoid charging Clinton. As the Times tells it, the Justice Department and the FBI knew that to charge Clinton with a crime, it would not be enough to prove she had been “sloppy or careless”; instead, “they needed evidence showing that she knowingly received classified information or set up her server for that purpose.”

As I have contended before, this claim is specious on multiple levels. Subsection (f) of the pertinent statute (the Espionage Act, codified at Section 793 of Title 18, U.S. Code) makes it a felony to mishandle classified information “through gross negligence” — i.e., proving Clinton was sloppy or careless (or “extremely careless,” to use Comey’s own description) could have been sufficient. But beyond that, Clinton willfully set up a private network for the systematic handling of her State Department-related communications, in violation of federal record-keeping requirements of which she was well aware, and under circumstances in which she (a former senator who served for years on the intelligence Armed Services committee) was a sophisticated longtime consumer of classified information. She was keenly aware that her responsibilities as secretary of state would heavily involve classified information — whether it was “marked” classified or “born classified” because of the subject matter.

It is irrelevant whether Clinton’s purpose was to transmit or store classified information on the private, non-secure server; prosecutors are not required to prove motive. The question is whether she knew classified information would end up on the server, and her set-up made that inevitable.

That is, Clinton could have been prosecuted either for willfully mishandling classified information or for doing so through gross negligence.

As I elaborate in the column, the Times did not address the controlling statute in its 8,000-word article. Instead, the story was that Clinton could not be charged because of the purported Petraeus precedent. We are to believe that the evidence of former CIA director David Petreaus’s criminal intent was far stronger than Clinton’s, yet he was not charged with the felony mishandling of classified information (he was permitted to plead guilty to a misdemeanor); ergo, it would have been an abuse of prosecutorial discretion to charge Clinton with the felony.

I addressed this in the column as well:

This line of reasoning is fatuous — and it’s another instance of the Justice Department adopting Clinton campaign cant. Petreaus shared his classified diaries with a single person, a paramour who actually had a security clearance (albeit not one high enough to view what she was shown). Clinton’s offense was more extensive in duration and seriousness.

Assuming the accuracy of the Times’s account, Comey is quite right that Petraeus should have been indicted on much more serious charges (as I have contended). But the Justice Department’s dereliction in Petraeus’s case was hardly a justification for giving Clinton a pass on a more egregious offense that, unlike Petraeus’s, (a) almost certainly caused the compromise of government secrets to foreign intelligence services and (b) resulted in the destruction of tens of thousands of government records — a separate felony. Clinton’s misconduct should have been prosecuted under the governing law, not excused based on the sweetheart plea deal Petraeus got.

All that said, we’re told the FBI thought it might be able to get over the purported Petraeus hurdle if it could find e-mails to and from Clinton’s old BlackBerry. Because she was using this device right before she switched to the homebrew server, the theory was that those lost e-mails might contain some smoking-gun declaration of her criminal intent in setting up the server system. It’s as if, in a drug case, it’s not enough for agents to have the bag of heroin they found in the suspected trafficker’s house; to prove intent, you apparently also need an e-mail in which the trafficker says, “Gee, I hope there’s enough heroin in that bag I was planning to sell.”

Hillary Clinton is a Yale-educated lawyer who worked in government for many years. She was a very active first lady during her husband’s eight-year presidency — mainly in the White House, where the handling of classified information is a major issue, even for low-level staffers. I mistakenly said in the weekend column that she had served on the Intelligence Committee in the Senate; but my memory lapse was due to having previously said, correctly and on many occasions, that her assignment to the Armed Services Committee during years when the nation was at war made her a heavy consumer of highly classified national-defense information.

When she became secretary of state, she was briefed on the rules governing the handling of classified information, which she well knew would feature prominently and persistently in her duties. In her memoir, Hard Choices, Mrs. Clinton goes on at length about the exacting security procedures she knew she had to follow in handling classified information (e.g., she needed to read classified documents under an “opaque tent” in her hotel rooms while on travel; and it was foremost in her mind that State Department officials are “frequently the target of cyberattacks”).

When she was interviewed by the FBI at the close of its investigation, Clinton made laughably false statements regarding her familiarity with classified-information protocols, including the whopper that she did not know what “(C)” meant — even though it is the designation for information classified at the “confidential” level, ubiquitous in classified documents. Prosecutors routinely use false exculpatory statements to prove mens rea in a criminal case. (Relatedly, Clinton also told the FBI she could not recall being briefed about retaining government records and handling classified information even though she signed a form acknowledging that she had been so briefed on January 22, 2009.) Moreover, in newly released book Shattered, about the 2016 Clinton campaign, authors Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes relate the story of how Clinton directed a trusted aide to download the server from her failed 2008 campaign in order to peruse stored staff e-mails so she could figure out who leaked to the press.

Patently, Hillary Clinton was well aware of (a) the highly classified subject matter of communications that would inevitably be passing through the private e-mail system she set up for State Department business, in violation of statutes and government rules; (b) the fact that e-mails are stored on servers; (c) the fact that the communications facilities and devices used by State Department officials are routinely targeted in cyberattacks by foreign intelligence services and other hostile actors; and (d) the rules for the proper handling of classified information (and potential penalties for mishandling it). Consequently, her mishandling of classified information was knowing and intentional, as well as grossly negligent. Many reasonable prosecutors would salivate at the prospect of taking such a case to court, especially if they knew that Clinton was going to run with a “lack of intent” defense.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/05/james-comey-fbi-director-hillary-clinton-no-criminal-intent-email-classified-information/

FBI Rewrites Federal Law to Let Hillary Off the Hook

There is no way of getting around this: According to Director James Comey (disclosure: a former colleague and longtime friend of mine), Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation of Section 793(f) of the federal penal code (Title 18): With lawful access to highly classified information she acted with gross negligence in removing and causing it to be removed it from its proper place of custody, and she transmitted it and caused it to be transmitted to others not authorized to have it, in patent violation of her trust. Director Comey even conceded that former Secretary Clinton was “extremely careless” and strongly suggested that her recklessness very likely led to communications (her own and those she corresponded with) being intercepted by foreign intelligence services.

Yet, Director Comey recommended against prosecution of the law violations he clearly found on the ground that there was no intent to harm the United States.

In essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require. The added intent element, moreover, makes no sense: The point of having a statute that criminalizes gross negligence is to underscore that government officials have a special obligation to safeguard national defense secrets; when they fail to carry out that obligation due to gross negligence, they are guilty of serious wrongdoing. The lack of intent to harm our country is irrelevant. People never intend the bad things that happen due to gross negligence.

I would point out, moreover, that there are other statutes that criminalize unlawfully removing and transmitting highly classified information with intent to harm the United States. Being not guilty (and, indeed, not even accused) of Offense B does not absolve a person of guilt on Offense A, which she has committed.

It is a common tactic of defense lawyers in criminal trials to set up a straw-man for the jury: a crime the defendant has not committed. The idea is that by knocking down a crime the prosecution does not allege and cannot prove, the defense may confuse the jury into believing the defendant is not guilty of the crime charged. Judges generally do not allow such sleight-of-hand because innocence on an uncharged crime is irrelevant to the consideration of the crimes that actually have been charged.

It seems to me that this is what the FBI has done today. It has told the public that because Mrs. Clinton did not have intent to harm the United States we should not prosecute her on a felony that does not require proof of intent to harm the United States. Meanwhile, although there may have been profound harm to national security caused by her grossly negligent mishandling of classified information, we’ve decided she shouldn’t be prosecuted for grossly negligent mishandling of classified information.

I think highly of Jim Comey personally and professionally, but this makes no sense to me.

Finally, I was especially unpersuaded by Director Comey’s claim that no reasonable prosecutor would bring a case based on the evidence uncovered by the FBI. To my mind, a reasonable prosecutor would ask: Why did Congress criminalize the mishandling of classified information through gross negligence? The answer, obviously, is to prevent harm to national security. So then the reasonable prosecutor asks: Was the statute clearly violated, and if yes, is it likely that Mrs. Clinton’s conduct caused harm to national security? If those two questions are answered in the affirmative, I believe many, if not most, reasonable prosecutors would feel obliged to bring the case.

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/fbi-rewrites-federal-law-let-hillary-hook/

18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information

(a)

Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, goes upon, enters, flies over, or otherwise obtains information concerning any vessel, aircraft, work of defense, navy yard, naval station, submarine base, fueling station, fort, battery, torpedo station, dockyard, canal, railroad, arsenal, camp, factory, mine, telegraph, telephone, wireless, or signal station, building, office, research laboratory or station or other place connected with the national defense owned or constructed, or in progress of construction by the United States or under the control of the United States, or of any of its officers, departments, or agencies, or within the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States, or any place in which any vessel, aircraft, arms, munitions, or other materials or instruments for use in time of war are being made, prepared, repaired, stored, or are the subject of research or development, under any contract or agreement with the United States, or any department or agency thereof, or with any person on behalf of the United States, or otherwise on behalf of the United States, or any prohibited place so designated by the President by proclamation in time of war or in case of national emergency in which anything for the use of the Army, Navy, or Air Force is being prepared or constructed or stored, information as to which prohibited place the President has determined would be prejudicial to the national defense; or
(b)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, and with like intent or reason to believe, copies, takes, makes, or obtains, or attempts to copy, take, make, or obtain, any sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, document, writing, or note of anything connected with the national defense; or
(c)

Whoever, for the purpose aforesaid, receives or obtains or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain from any person, or from any source whatever, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note, of anything connected with the national defense, knowing or having reason to believe, at the time he receives or obtains, or agrees or attempts to receive or obtain it, that it has been or will be obtained, taken, made, or disposed of by any person contrary to the provisions of this chapter; or
(d)

Whoever, lawfully having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or
(e)

Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it; or
(f)

Whoever, being entrusted with or having lawful possession or control of any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information, relating to the national defense, (1) through gross negligence permits the same to be removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of his trust, or to be lost, stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, or (2) having knowledge that the same has been illegally removed from its proper place of custody or delivered to anyone in violation of its trust, or lost, or stolen, abstracted, or destroyed, and fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction to his superior officer—Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

(g)

If two or more persons conspire to violate any of the foregoing provisions of this section, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be subject to the punishment provided for the offense which is the object of such conspiracy.
(h)

(1)

Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall forfeit to the United States, irrespective of any provision of State law, any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, from any foreign government, or any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, as the result of such violation. For the purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, and any commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.
(2)

The court, in imposing sentence on a defendant for a conviction of a violation of this section, shall order that the defendant forfeit to the United States all property described in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(3)The provisions of subsections (b), (c), and (e) through (p) of section 413 of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21 U.S.C. 853(b), (c), and (e)–(p)) shall apply to—

(A)

property subject to forfeiture under this subsection;
(B)

any seizure or disposition of such property; and
(C)

any administrative or judicial proceeding in relation to such property,
if not inconsistent with this subsection.
(4)

Notwithstanding section 524(c) of title 28, there shall be deposited in the Crime Victims Fund in the Treasury all amounts from the forfeiture of property under this subsection remaining after the payment of expenses for forfeiture and sale authorized by law.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 736; Sept. 23, 1950, ch. 1024, title I, § 18, 64 Stat. 1003Pub. L. 99–399, title XIII, § 1306(a), Aug. 27, 1986100 Stat. 898Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(L), Sept. 13, 1994108 Stat. 2147Pub. L. 103–359, title VIII, § 804(b)(1), Oct. 14, 1994108 Stat. 3440Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, § 607(b), Oct. 11, 1996110 Stat. 3511.)

 

Story 2: American People Remember First Lady Barbara Bush Passed Away At Age 92 — Videos

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Image result for barbara bush rip 1925-2018

Image result for barbara bush rip 1925-2018Image result for barbara bush rip 1925-2018

 

Former First Lady Barbara Bush Dies at Age 92

Barbara Bush Has Passed Away

Remembering Barbara Bush, political dynasty matriarch

George W. Bush: Mom was ‘needling’ me til the end.

Dana Perino on passing of Barbara Bush

Rove, Gingrich, Baier and Hume pay tribute to Barbara Bush

Chris Wallace on death of former first lady Barbara Bush

1994: Barbara Bush on her life in White House

Bob Schieffer on Barbara Bush, the “enforcer” and confidant

Tributes and condolences pour in for Barbara Bush

Mark Steyn: Barbara Bush was secure about herself

Jeb, George W. Bush remember their mother, Barbara Bush

Hume: Barbara Bush was person of ‘enormous character’

Perino: Barbara Bush instilled humility, public service

How Barbara Bush’s battle with depression shaped her life

Jenna Bush Tears Up on ‘Today’ Talking About Grandma Barbara Bush

George and Barbara Bush: A love story

Barbara Bush And George H.W. Bush: An Epic Love Story | TODAY

Barbara Bush: “I have no fear of death” (C-SPAN)

Former First Lady And Advocate For Literacy Barbara Bush Dies At 92 | MTP Daily | MSNBC

Barbara Bush – Wellesley Commencement Speech

The Barbara Bush Literacy Effect

Storytime with Barbara Bush and Brad Meltzer – Full Version

Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and Food Brings Hope

[youruvw=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyEgfVcQWvY]

Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, A Celebration of Reading

Legacy to Literacy- Barbara Bush Tribute

Mark Levin Show: Former U.S. first lady Barbara Bush passed away at age 92 (audio from 04-17-2018)

Rush Limbaugh: In memory of Barbara Bush (audio from 04-18-2018)

Sean Hannity salutes Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush to be laid to rest at the Bush library

Tribute To Barbara Bush

 

Barbara Bush

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Barbara Bush
Barbara Bush portrait.jpg
First Lady of the United States
In role
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Nancy Reagan
Succeeded by Hillary Clinton
Second Lady of the United States
In role
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
Vice President George H. W. Bush
Preceded by Joan Mondale
Succeeded by Marilyn Quayle
Personal details
Born Barbara Pierce
June 8, 1925
New York CityNew York, U.S.
Died April 17, 2018 (aged 92)
HoustonTexas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) George H. W. Bush (m. 1945)
Children
Parents
Alma mater Smith College
Signature

Barbara Bush (née Pierce; June 8, 1925 – April 17, 2018) was the wife of George H. W. Bush41st President of the United States, and served as First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She had previously served as Second Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Among her six children are George W. Bush, the 43rd President, and Jeb Bush, the 43rd Governor of Florida.

Barbara Pierce was born in New York City. She met George Herbert Walker Bush at age 16, and the two married in Rye, New York, in 1945, while he was on leave during his deployment as a Naval officer in World War II. They moved to Midland, Texas, where he entered political life, in 1950.

As First Lady of the United States, Bush worked to advance the cause of universal literacy, founding the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

Early life

Barbara Pierce was born in New York City on June 8, 1925 to Pauline (née Robinson; 1896–1949) and Marvin Pierce (1893–1969). She was raised in the suburban town of Rye, New York.[1] Her father later became president of McCall Corporation, the publisher of the popular women’s magazines Redbook and McCall’s. She grew up with two elder siblings, Martha and James, and a younger brother, Scott. Her ancestor Thomas Pierce Jr., an early New England colonist, was also an ancestor of Franklin Pierce, 14th president of the United States. She was a fourth cousin, four times removed, of Franklin Pierce and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.[2]

Pierce and her three siblings were raised in a house on Onondaga Street in Rye. She attended Milton Public School from 1931 to 1937, Rye Country Day School until 1940[3] and later the boarding school Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina, from 1940 to 1943.[1] In her youth, Pierce was athletic and enjoyed swimming, tennis, and bike riding.[1] Her interest in reading began early in life; she recalled gathering and reading with her family during the evenings.[1]

Marriage and family

Barbara Bush, center, surrounded by her family, early 1960s

When Pierce was 16 and on Christmas vacation, she met George Bush at a dance at the Round Hill Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut;[4] he was a student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.[5] After 18 months, the two became engaged to be married, just before he went off to World War II as a Navy torpedo bomber pilot. He named three of his planes after her: Barbara, Barbara II, and Barbara III. When he returned on leave, she had discontinued her studies at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts;[1] two weeks later, on January 6, 1945, they were married at the First Presbyterian Church in Rye, New York,[1] with the reception being held at The Apawamis Club.[6]

For the first eight months of their marriage, the Bushes moved around the Eastern United States, to places including MichiganMaryland, and Virginia, where George Bush’s Navy squadron training required his presence.[1]

Over the next 13 years, George and Barbara Bush had six children, who between them gave the couple a total of 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren:

  • George W. Bush (b. 1946), who married Laura Welch on November 5, 1977. They have twin daughters, and two granddaughters.
  • Robin Bush (1949–1953), who died of leukemia at the age of three.
  • Jeb Bush (b. 1953), who married Columba Gallo on February 23, 1974. They have three children, and four grandchildren.
  • Neil Bush (b. 1955), who married Sharon Smith in 1980; they divorced in April 2003. They have three children, and one grandson. Neil married Maria Andrews in 2004.
  • Marvin Bush (b. 1956), who married Margaret Molster in 1981. They have two children.
  • Dorothy Bush Koch (b. 1959), who married William LeBlond in 1982; they divorced in 1990, and have two children. Dorothy married Robert P. Koch in June 1992; they have two children.

Texas years

After the war ended, George and Barbara had their first child when he was a student at Yale University; the young family soon moved to Odessa, Texas, where Bush entered the oil business. They moved to several small suburbs around Los Angeles, California, before settling in Midland, Texas, in 1950. The Bushes would move some 29 times during their marriage.[1] Over time, Bush built a business in the oil industry and joined with colleagues to start up the successful Zapata Corporation. Barbara raised her children while her husband was usually away on business. In 1953, the Bushes’ daughter, Robin, died of leukemia.[1]

When their daughter Dorothy was born in August 1959, the Bushes moved from Midland to Houston. In 1963, George Bush was elected Harris County Republican Party chairman, in the first of what would become many elections. In 1964, he made his first run for a prominent political office—U.S. Senator from Texas. Although he lost the election, the exposure that the Bush family received put George and Barbara on the national scene.[1]

Political life

In 1966, George Bush was elected as a U.S. Representative in Congress from Texas. Barbara raised her children while her husband campaigned and occasionally joined him on the trail. Over the ensuing years, George Bush was elected or appointed to several different positions in the U.S. Congress or the executive branch, or government-related posts, and Barbara Bush accompanied him in each case.

The Bushes celebrate in Houston on the evening in 1966 that George was elected a congressman

As the wife of a Congressman, Barbara immersed herself in projects that piqued her interest; the projects included various charities and Republican women’s groups in Washington, D.C.[1] Though her husband lost a second bid for the Senate in 1970, President Richard Nixon appointed him the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, which enabled Barbara to begin forming relationships in New York City with prominent diplomats.[1] As the Watergate scandal heated up in 1973, Nixon asked Bush to become Chairman of the Republican National Committee; Barbara advised her husband to reject the offer because of the harsh political climate,[1] but he accepted anyway.

Nixon’s successor, Gerald R. Ford, appointed Bush head of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China in 1974, and the Bushes relocated. She enjoyed the time that she spent in China and often rode bicycles with her husband to explore cities and regions that few Americans had visited.[1] Three years later, Bush was recalled to the U.S. to serve as Director of Central Intelligence during a crucial time of legal uncertainty for the agency. He was not allowed to share classified aspects of his job with Barbara; the ensuing sense of isolation, coupled with her perception that she was not achieving her goals while other women of her time were, plunged her into a depression.[1][7]She did not seek professional help. Instead, she began delivering speeches and presentations about her time spent in the closed-off China, and volunteered at a hospice.[1]

Barbara Bush defended her husband’s experience and personal qualities when he announced his candidacy for President of the United States in 1980. She caused a stir when she said that she supported ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment and was pro-choice on abortion,[1] placing her at odds with the conservative wing of the Republican party, led by California Governor Ronald Reagan. Reagan earned the presidential nomination over her husband, who then accepted Reagan’s invitation to be his running mate; the team was elected in 1980.

Second Lady of the United States

Second Lady Barbara Bush and the Vice President with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Denis Thatcherat Chequers, 1984

Barbara Bush’s eight years as Second Lady made her a household name. After her son Neil was diagnosed with dyslexia, she took an interest in literacy issues and began working with several different literacy organizations. She spent much time researching and learning about the factors that contributed to illiteracy—she believed homelessness was also connected to illiteracy[8]—and the efforts underway to combat both.[1] She traveled around the country and the world, either with the vice president on official trips or by herself. In 1984, she wrote a children’s book, C. Fred’s Story, which recounted the adventures of a family as related by their cocker spaniel, C. Fred. She donated all of the book’s proceeds to literacy charities.[8]

By the mid-1980s, Bush was comfortable speaking in front of groups, and she routinely spoke to promote issues in which she believed. She became famous for expressing a sense of humor and self-deprecating wit.[1] During the 1984 presidential campaign, Barbara made headlines when she told the press that she could not say on television what she thought of vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, but “it rhymes with rich”.[9] She later apologized to Ferraro.

In 1988, Vice President Bush announced his candidacy for President to succeed his boss Ronald Reagan. By this time Barbara had experienced two presidential campaigns, but broke new ground by becoming the second candidate’s spouse to speak at the national party convention that nominated her husband (after Eleanor Roosevelt in 1940).[1] She promised voters that she would be a traditional first lady and campaigned actively for her husband.[8] The campaign at times focused on the large Bush family, and contrasted her with the First Lady, Nancy Reagan, by highlighting her interest in domestic staples such as church, gardening, and time spent with family while placing less emphasis on style sense and fashion; she drew attention to both her famous white hair and disinterest in wearing designer clothes.[1] She generally avoided discussion of political issues during the campaign, particularly those on which she and her husband differed, and those closely involved with the campaign have reported that she was actively involved in campaign strategy.[1] Bush was elected in November 1988 and sworn in on January 20, 1989.

First Lady of the United States

Bush and Missouri Governor John Ashcroft attending a “Parents as Teachers” parent-child group, 1991

Family literacy was Barbara Bush’s cause as First Lady, and she called it “the most important issue we have”.[10] She became involved with many literacy organizations, served on literacy committees and chaired many reading organizations. Eventually, she helped develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.[11] She continued to be dedicated to eliminating the generational cycle of illiteracy in America by supporting programs where parents and their young children are able to learn together. During the early 1980s, after statistics had shown that foreign-born immigrants from Latin America had nearly quintupled just since 1960, statistics showed that 35 million adults could not read above the eighth-grade level and that 23 million were not able to read beyond a fourth-grade level. Mrs. Bush appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the situation and spoke regularly on Mrs. Bush’s Story Time, a national radio program that stressed the importance of reading aloud to children.[1] Her children Jeb Bush and Dorothy Bush Koch serve as co-chairs of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. During her lifetime Mrs. Bush remained active in the foundation and served as honorary chair.[12]

President Bush and the First Lady await the arrival of a Head of State at the White House

She was active in the White House Historical Association and worked to revitalize the White House Preservation Fund, which she renamed the White House Endowment Trust. The trust raises funds for the ongoing refurbishment and restoration of the White House. She met her goal of raising $25 million towards the endowment. The White House residence staff generally found Barbara Bush to be the friendliest and most easygoing of the First Ladies with whom they dealt.[13]

In March 1989, Bush’s press office reported that she had Graves’ disease.[14] In June of that year, President Bush said of his wife that “…she is doing just fine. And I think her doctors would say the same thing. She’s got this Grave’s disease under control.”[15]

Bush was known for her affection for her pet English Springer Spaniel Millie and wrote a children’s book about Millie’s new litter of puppies. She even included Millie in her official white house portrait, painted by Candace Whittemore Lovely.[16] Barbara Bush became the first U.S. First Lady to become a recipient of the Henry G. Freeman Jr. Pin Money Fund, receiving $36,000, most of which she gave to favorite charities.

Bush delivered a famous commencement address at Wellesley College in 1990; she was joined by Raisa Gorbacheva, wife of Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev

She was struck every day by “how much things had changed” for her and her husband since they became President and First Lady. In place of a limousine, Bush tried to use a smaller car and travel by train and commercial aircraft for out-of-town trips. The heads of Bush’s Secret Service detail were partially opposed to her wishes; the agents agreed to the small car but did not approve of the commercial air and train travel. At that time, the number of threats to the First Lady was higher than that of the vice president. Bush still wanted to use public transportation despite the opposition of the Secret Service. She was put-off by the fact that her flights would be delayed while agents checked out the planes and luggage. The plane on which Bush traveled was nicknamed “Bright Star,” in honor of the leukemia foundation her husband and Hugh Liedtke founded after her daughter Robin died.[17]

She gave the Wellesley College commencement address in 1990; her speech was listed as #45 in American Rhetoric’s Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century (listed by rank).[18]

The First Lady visits patients at Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., 1990

During her husband’s 1992 presidential campaign, Barbara Bush stated that abortion and homosexuality are personal matters and argued that the Republican Party platform should not take a stand on it, saying that “The personal things should be left out of, in my opinion, platforms and conventions.” Her personal views on abortion were not known, although her friends reported at that time that she “privately supported abortion rights.”[19] She explained, “I hate abortions, but I just could not make that choice for someone else.”[20]

When Bush lived in the White House, she disclosed that she was suffering from Graves’ disease, which is an overactive thyroid ailment; the condition coincidentally affected her husband. It is rare for two biologically unrelated people in the same household to develop Graves disease within two years of each other.[21]

Bush was more popular than her immediate predecessor Nancy Reagan and successor Hillary Clinton because she carefully “avoided controversy” and took very few public positions on contentious issues.[22]

Post-White House years

After leaving the White House, she and her husband resided at the River Oaks community in Houston, Texas, and at the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine. Bush described January 20, 1993, the day of Bill Clinton‘s inauguration, a “tough day” for her and her husband. After returning to Houston, the two were visited by their son, George W. Bush, and at that point, Bush realized that she had not cooked in 12 years. She had difficulty driving a car on her own, and she did not drive far from home for a long time; her husband warned people to get out of the way if they saw her car.[23] A month after her husband left office in February 1993, Bush was surprised when her husband booked them on the “Love Boat” ship Regal Princess.[24] In April 1993, Bush and her husband had breakfast with the former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who was on an American speaking tour. Thatcher mentioned the most recent celebration of former President Ronald Reagan‘s birthday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, where he orated the same card twice. Bush read about the incident after Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which she called a “tragedy for both” the Reagans.[25]

President George W. Bush and his mother Barbara prepare to board Air Force One, 2005

Bush attempted to persuade her son George W. Bush not to run for Governor of Texas in the 1994 gubernatorial election. She was convinced that he could not defeat Ann Richards, but he went on to win the election.[26] Several days after he was sworn in as Governor of Texas, she went to a Distinguished Speakers Event at the LBJ Library for Lady Bird Johnson. There, she was introduced by her son, the new Governor of Texas, and the following day, received a letter from him dated January 18, 1995, in which he asserted that he would not be governor had it not been for her and George H. W. Bush. Mrs. Bush described the letter as having “moved” both her and her husband.[27]

On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was the target of a lone wolf domestic terrorist bombing that left 168 people dead. One of the people who died in the attack was Al Whicher, who had served on George H. W. Bush’s Secret Security detail. Bush called the man who served under her husband “a devoted husband and father”. The next day, April 20, 1995, the Bushes were scheduled to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Barbara was supposed to speak at a Junior League event in the noon and accompany her husband at the Salvation Army annual dinner. The Bushes debated whether or not they should continue with their plans due to the bombing, ultimately deciding to go, because “both groups help people in need.”[28] On September 3, 1995, the Bushes went to Vietnam. This was “unbelievable” to Barbara because she “never expected to set foot in what had been North Vietnam. The Bushes first went to Hanoi and then to Ho Chi Minh City. They met with President Lê Đức Anh and party secretary Đỗ Mười.[29] On September 28, 1995, the Bushes drove to Portland, Maine, for the announcement of the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. Bush said her life was being stretched, adding, “Long after I am gone this hospital will be there with my name.” The Bushes visited the children there, and Mrs. Bush started to recall her daughter Robin after seeing them. The Bushes returned home early that month.[30]

Bush campaigned for her son George W. Bush after he announced his presidential campaign in June 1999. Throughout the country, she met with women in support of his campaign but remained doubtful of his chances of winning. The resentment toward the campaign continued with her rejecting any criticism of her son said in her presence and she refused to watch any debates, a contrast to her husband’s willingness to listen and his watching of every debate, creating friction between the couple.[31]

Several schools have been named for her: three primary schools and two middle schools in Texas and an elementary school in Mesa, Arizona. Also named for her is the Barbara Bush Library in Harris County, Texas,[32] and the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine. She served on the Boards of AmeriCares and the Mayo Clinic, and headed the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

On March 18, 2003—two days before the beginning of the 2003 invasion of Iraq—her son George W. Bush was President. ABC‘s Good Morning America asked her about her family’s television viewing habits. She replied:

I watch none. He [former President George H. W. Bush] sits and listens and I read books, because I know perfectly well that, don’t take offense, that 90 percent of what I hear on television is supposition, when we’re talking about the news. And he’s not, not as understanding of my pettiness about that. But why should we hear about body bags and deaths, and how many, what day it’s gonna happen, and how many this or that or what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it’s not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that, and watch him suffer.[33]

George and Barbara Bush attend the christening ceremony for the eponymous aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, October 2006

Bush was visiting a Houston relief center for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina when she told the radio program Marketplace,

Almost everyone I’ve talked to says, ‘We’re gonna move to Houston.’ What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas… Everybody is so overwhelmed by the hospitality, and so many of the people in the arenas here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this (as she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them.[34][35]

The remarks generated controversy.[36] In 2006, it was revealed that Barbara Bush donated an undisclosed amount of money to the Bush–Clinton Katrina Fund on the condition that the charity do business with an educational software company owned by her son Neil Bush.[37]

Former First Lady Barbara Bush at the LBJ Presidential Library in 2012

On October 3, 2008, Barbara Bush and her husband George opened the “George and Barbara Bush Center”[38] on the University of New England waterfront Biddeford Campus a few miles north of Walker’s Point. The George and Barbara Bush Center lays the foundation for the heritage of Barbara Bush in New England and houses “The Bush Legacy Collection”, material securing the Bush legacy in Maine, including memorabilia on loan from the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University. Particular attention is given to the family’s New England heritage and to Barbara Bush’s love for Maine.[39]

In a November 2010 interview with Larry King, Bush was asked about former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Bush remarked, “I sat next to her once, thought she was beautiful, and I think she’s very happy in Alaska, and I hope she’ll stay there.”[40] Palin responded, “I don’t want to, sort of, concede that we have to get used to this kind of thing, because I think the majority of Americans don’t want to put up with the blue-bloods—and I say it with all due respect, because I love the Bushes—but, the blue-bloods, who want to pick and choose their winners, instead of allowing competition to pick and choose the winners.”[41]

Barbara Bush joined Michelle ObamaLaura BushHillary Clinton, and Rosalynn Carter at the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, 2013

Bush was initially opposed to her son Jeb making a potential bid for the presidency; she believed that other families should have a try at the nation’s highest office and that “we’ve had enough Bushes.”[42] However, she reversed her position and appeared in a campaign ad for him. Beginning in February 2016, she began campaigning for him in New Hampshire, an early voting state.[43][44]Jeb Bush joked that a town hall meeting attended by his mother featured a larger gathering than town halls prior to her involvement.[45] Concerning her son, she believed Jeb is nearly too well-mannered,[46] but also was confident that he is “decent and honest, and everything we need in a president.”[45] Bush weighed in on Jeb’s rival for the nomination, Donald Trump, by her own admission not understanding how women “can vote for someone who said what he said about Megyn Kelly“.[47][48] She also indicated that she had tired of Trump over the course of the campaign and due to her gender, she was “not crazy about what he says about women.”[49] During the CBS Republican debate in February 2016, Jeb defended his mother by saying she “is the strongest woman I know”, to which Trump replied that Bush herself “should be running.”[50]

Bush and Abigail Adams are the only two women in United States history to have been both the wife of a president and the mother of a president.[51]

Illnesses and death

Bush was diagnosed with Graves’ disease in 1988. Later on, she suffered from congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).[52] Bush was a heavy smoker for 25 years, quitting in 1968 when a nurse condemned her smoking in her hospital room after a surgery.[53]

In November 2008, Bush was hospitalized for abdominal pains and underwent small intestine surgery.[54] She underwent aortic valve replacement surgery in March 2009.[55]

Bush was hospitalized with pneumonia on New Year’s Eve 2013 and was released from the hospital a few days later.[56][57]

In April 2018, her family released a statement regarding her failing health, stating that she had chosen to be at home with family and seek “comfort care” rather than further treatment.[58][59] According to family spokesman Jim McGrath, her decision came as a result of “a series of recent hospitalizations.”[60][61]

Bush died in her Houston home at the age of 92 on April 17, 2018.[52][62] Her son George W. Bush tweeted, “My dear mother has passed on at age 92. Laura, Barbara, Jenna, and I are sad, but our souls are settled because we know hers was […] I’m a lucky man that Barbara Bush was my mother. Our family will miss her dearly, and we thank you all for your prayers and good wishes.”[63] President Donald Trump ordered the nation’s flag to half-staff in Barbara Bush’s memory[64][65] and he and First Lady Melania Trump sent condolences, saying: “As a wife, mother, grandmother, military spouse, and former First Lady, Mrs. Bush was an advocate of the American family…She will be long remembered for her strong devotion to country and family…”[66] Former Presidents Jimmy Carter,[67] Bill Clinton,[68] and Barack Obama[69] also sent condolences.[70] Some foreign leaders including Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Russian President Vladimir Putin also sent condolences.[71][72]

Her funeral will be held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston on April 21, 2018, with burial at the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.[73]

Awards and legacy

Barbara Bush Elementary School in Parkway Villages, Houston

In 1982, Barabara Bush received the D.A.R. Medal of Honor from the Daughters of the American Revolution. She became a member in 1985 and continued her membership until her death.

In 1995, Bush received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[74] In 1997, she was the recipient of The Miss America Woman of Achievement Awardfor her work with literacy programs.[75]

In 2016, she received honorary membership in Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Houston chapter.[76]

Barbara Bush Elementary School in the Parkway Villages neighborhood in Houston, operated by the Houston Independent School District, is named after her.[77]

Honorary degrees

Barbara Bush received honorary degrees from several institutions. These include:

Location Date School Degree
 Pennsylvania 1972 Arcadia University Doctor of Laws (LLD)[78]
 Wisconsin May 1981 Cardinal Stritch College Doctor of Laws (LLD)[78][79]
 District of Columbia May 10, 1987 Howard University Doctor of Humanities (DH)[80][81]
 Alabama 1988 Judson College Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[78]
 North Carolina May 14, 1989 Bennett College Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[78][82]
 Massachusetts May 21, 1989 Boston University Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[78]
 Georgia (U.S. state) October 6, 1989 Morehouse School of Medicine Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[78][83]
 Massachusetts September 6, 1989 Smith College Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[84][85]
 Pennsylvania 1990 University of Pennsylvania Doctor of Laws (LLD)[86]
 South Carolina May 1990 University of South Carolina Doctor of Education[78][87]
 Missouri May 19, 1990 Saint Louis University Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[88]
 South Carolina 1991 South Carolina State College Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[78]
 Michigan 1991 University of Michigan Doctor of Laws (LLD)[89]
 Massachusetts June 15, 1991 Northeastern University Doctor of Public Service[90]
 Wisconsin May 17, 1992 Marquette University Doctor of Laws (LLD)[91]
 Ohio 1992 Central State University Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[78]
 Louisiana 1992 Louisiana State University Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[78]
 California 1992 Pepperdine University Doctor of Laws (LLD)[78]
 Maryland 1997 Hood College Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[78]
 New York April 18, 1997 Hofstra University Doctor of Humane Letters[92]
 Texas 1998 Austin College Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[78]
 Florida 1998 University of Miami Doctor of Humanities (DH)[78]
 Maryland 1999 Washington College Doctor of Public Service[78]
 Louisiana 2000 Centenary College Doctor of Laws (LLD)[78]
 North Carolina May 21, 2001 Wake Forest University Doctor of Humanities[93]
 Texas March 11, 2002 Baylor University Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL)[94]
 Maine June 7, 2003 University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine Doctor of Humane Letters (LHD)[95]
 District of Columbia May 21, 2006 George Washington University Doctor of Public Service[96]

Footnotes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Bush

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 346-353

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 338-345

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 328-337

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 319-327

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 307-318

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 296-306

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 287-295

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 277-286

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 264-276

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 250-263

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 236-249

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 222-235

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 165-173

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 91

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

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The Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018, Story 1: President Trump Negotiating Deal With North Korea Communist Dictator Kim Jong Un — Destroy Missiles and Nuclear Weapon or Face The Consequences — Total Trade Embargo with Communist China Starting January 1, 2019 For Enabling North Korea Nuclear Weapons and Missile Programs Proliferation — The Big Squeeze of Kim By Trump and Xi — Videos

Posted on April 18, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, American History, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Bribery, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, China, Coal, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Currencies, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Elections, Euro, European History, European Union, Extortion, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, France, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Germany, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Israel, Killing, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Middle East, MIssiles, Monetary Policy, Movies, Natural Gas, Networking, News, North Korea, Nuclear, Oil, People, Photos, Politics, President Trump, Privacy, Pro Life, Public Corruption, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulation, Resources, Rifles, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Networking, Social Security, South Korea, Spying, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Technology, Trade Policy, Transportation, U.S. Dollar, Unemployment, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, Videos, Vietnam, Violence, Wall Street Journal, War, Water, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1062, April 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

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Story 1: President Trump Negotiating Deal With North Korea Communist Dictator Kim Jong Un — Destroy Missiles and Nuclear Weapon or Face The Consequences — Total Trade Embargo with Communist China Starting January 1, 2019 For Enabling North Korea Nuclear Weapons and Missile Programs Proliferation — The Big Squeeze of Kim By Trump and Xi — Videos

 

US poised for breakthrough with North Korea?

Varney on North Korea: Trump is in the driver’s seat

Mike Pompeo: CIA chief made secret trip to North Korea – BBC News

Trump says Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un

President Donald Trump Confirms Mike Pompeo Met With North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un | CNBC

Pompeo facing challenges with North Korea, Iran

Larry Kudlow on tax law impact, China “trade dispute,” Abe summit

Larry Kudlow: We will take fresh look at the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Trump open to re-entering Trans-Pacific Partnership

President Donald Trump: I Would Do A TPP Deal If We Were Able To Make It Substantially Better | CNBC

Trump Signs Executive Order to Withdraw From TPP

Trump: TPP ‘Greatest Danger Yet’ to U.S. Manufacturing

Donald Trump’s 7-point trade plan: No TPP, renegotiate NAFTA

Trump: TPP is a disaster for many reasons

Donald Trump on TPP

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Explained

Trump threatens China with new $100 billion tariff plan

Larry Kudlow: China refuses to play by the rules or the laws

What If China and America Stopped Trading

Potential U.S.-China trade war tensions escalate

China will not be pushed around by the US: Ben Stein

Trump doubles down on China tariff threat

Stephen Roach Says If U.S. Grows Tariffs, China Will Retaliate

Should Trump expand tariffs on China?

What does a trade war look like? We explain

China is prepared for a trade war, expert says | In The News

Trump proposes another $100 billion in China tariffs

US- China Trade War: Donald Trump considering tariff of $100 billion on Chinese goods

How U.S. Workers Would Lose in a Trade War With China

Jim Rogers: Trade wars never work, always leads to real war

Why is China Selling U.S. Treasuries at an Alarming Rate

China’s trillion dollar plan to dominate global trade

China’s Geography Problem

Why Chinese Manufacturing Wins

Gen. Anthony Tata on President Xi’s power grab

China’s Presidential Power Grab – STV News Tonight

Chinese President Xi Jinping set to remain in power after term limits are removed

China’s Communist Party sets up stage for Xi Jinping to stay indefinitely

How Xi Became China’s Most Powerful Leader in Decades

What Xi Jinping’s power play means for U.S.-China relations

China Officially Elevates Xi Jinping To Level Of Mao | Los Angeles Times

A closer look at Xi Jinping, China’s new ’emperor’

China’s growing cult of ‘Emperor’ Xi Jinping | ITV News

Five Things You Need to Know About Xi Jinping

What does Kim Jong Un’s China visit mean for the U.S.?

Why Xi Jinping May Be The World’s Most Powerful Leader

Trump should increase the sanctions against North Korea: Gordon Chang

China demanded that Kim Jung Un visit Beijing: Gordon Chang

White House Sees Kim Jong Un Visit to China as Positive Step

Kim Jong Un met Xi Jinping, Chinese and North Korean state media report

Ingraham: Trump gets his team, media goes berserk

Gorka: Pompeo will go down fighting to clean the Swamp

CIA Director Pompeo says pressure on North Korea will continue

How the Kim Jong Un invitation to Trump happened

Gorka: Trump stood up and North Korea backed down

Here’s why Trump meeting Kim Jong Un is a huge deal

Kim Jong Un’s surprise announcement

Did Trump bring North Korea to the negotiating table?

Trump wary of North Korea’s offer to talk

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1058-1062

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1048-1057

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1041-1047

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 1033-1040

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 993-1000

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 984-992

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 977-983

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 963-969

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 955-962

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 946-954

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 938-945

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 926-937

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 916-925

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 906-915

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 889-896

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 884-888

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 864-869

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 850-856

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 806-814

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 800-805

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 793-799

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 777-784

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 738-744

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 727-731

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or DownloadShows 713-719

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or DownloadShows 705-712

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 660-667

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 651-659

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 644-650

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 637-643

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 629-636

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 617-628

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 608-616

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 599-607

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 590-598

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 585- 589

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 575-584

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 565-574

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 556-564

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 546-555

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 538-545

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 532-537

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 526-531

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 519-525

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 510-518

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 500-509

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 490-499

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 480-489

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 473-479

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 464-472

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 455-463

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 447-454

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 439-446

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 431-438

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 422-430

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 414-421

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 408-413

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 400-407

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 391-399

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 383-390

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 376-382

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 369-375

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 360-368

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 354-359

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 346-353

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 338-345

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 328-337

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 319-327

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 307-318

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 296-306

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 287-295

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 277-286

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 264-276

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 250-263

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 236-249

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 222-235

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 211-221

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 34-37

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 30-33

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

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velopThe Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018, Breaking and Developing — Story 1: United States, United Kingdom and France Launched A One Time Attack Against Syria and Assad Regime — American Empire Warfare and Welfare State Military Intervention on False Flag Pretext of Chemical Attack — Where is The Evidence? — Bring All The Troops Home and Have A Big Parade — Videos — Story 2: Invincible Ignorance of Former FBI Directory James Comey: Revealed Partisan Bias And Failure To Disclose Clinton Campaign and DNC Bought and Paid For Opposition Research Was Basis of Surveillance of Trump Campaign! — Videos — Story 3: Rule 8: Tell The Truth, or At Least Don’t Lie — Buy and Read Jordan B. Peterson New Book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos — Videos

Posted on April 17, 2018. Filed under: Addiction, Afghanistan, American History, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Bombs, Books, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Chemical Explosion, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Education, Egypt, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, European History, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Fourth Amendment, France, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Great Britain, Hate Speech, High Crimes, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, Iraq, Islam, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Israel, Israel, James Comey, Jordan, Killing, Language, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, National Interest, National Security Agency, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Nerve Gas, News, Nuclear, Nuclear, Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, Pro Abortion, Pro Life, Progressives, Qatar, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Resources, Rifles, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scandals, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Software, Spying, Spying on American People, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Syria, Trump Surveillance/Spying, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Vietnam, Violence, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 Project_1

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1061, April 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1060, April 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1058, April 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1057, April 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1056, April 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1055, April 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1054, March 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1053, March 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1052, March 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1051, March 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1050, March 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1049, March 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1048, March 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1047, March 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1046, March 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1045, March 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1044, March 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1043, March 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1042, March 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1041, February 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1040, February 27, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1039, February 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1038, February 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1037, February 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1036, February 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1035, February 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1034, February 15, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1033, February 14, 2018  

Pronk Pops Show 1032, February 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1031, February 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1030, February 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1028, February 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1027, February 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1026, February 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1025, January 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1024, January 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1023, January 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1022, January 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1021, January 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1020, January 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1019, January 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1018, January 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1017, January 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1016, January 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1015, January 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1014, January 8, 2018

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Breaking and Developing — Story 1: United States, United Kingdom and France Launched A One-Time Attack Against Syria and Assad Regime — American Empire Warfare and Welfare State Military Intervention on False Flag Pretext of Chemical Attack — Where is The Evidence? — Bring All The Troops Home and Have A Big Parade — Videos

Edwin Starr – War (w/lyrics + Vietnam War footage)

War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, why’all
War, huh, good god
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
Oh, war, I despise
‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives
War means tears to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight
And lose their lives
I said, war, huh good god, why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
War, whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Oh, war it’s an enemy to all mankind
The point of war blows my mind
War has caused unrest
Within the younger generation
Induction then destruction
Who wants to die, ah, war-huh, good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it, say it, say it
War, huh
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) it’s got one friend that’s the undertaker
Oh, war, has shattered many a young mans dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much to short and precious
To spend fighting wars these days
War can’t give life
It can only take it away
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing say it again
whoa, lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing listen to me
it ain’t nothing but a heart breaker
(War) friend only to the undertaker
Peace, love and understanding
Tell me, is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But lord knows there’s got to be a better way
Oh, war, huh good god why’all
What is it good for you tell me
Say it, say it, say it, say it
huh good god why’all
What is it good for
Stand up and shout it nothing
Songwriters: Barret Strong / Norman Whitfield
War lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Trump launches airstrikes on Syria in response to ‘evil and despicable’ chemical attack by ‘monster’ Assad and directly challenges Putin for supporting ‘mass murder of innocents’

  • U.S. President Donald Trump announced ‘precision strikes’ on Syria in a Friday evening address
  • Strikes are in retaliation for a poison gas attack that killed up to 75 people people on April 7
  • Trump said combined operation with France and UK will continue until Assad stops using chemical weapons 
  • Warned Russia and Iran about their association with Assad, saying they’ll ‘be judged by the friends they keep’
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a ‘limited and targeted’
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said the ‘red line’ set by France in May of 2017 ‘had been crossed’
  • Shortly after the attack, the Syrian presidency posted on Twitter: ‘Honorable souls cannot be humiliated’ 
  • Syrian state-run TV said three civilians have been wounded on the attack on a military base in Homs 

 

American, British and French forces launched airstrikes on two chemical weapons facilities and a military command post in Syria on Friday night in retaliation for a chemical attack that left up 75 civilians dead last week.

Donald Trump addressed the U.S. while British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron both gave speeches justifying the use of force.

Trump delivered a national address just after 9 pm EDT as missiles rained down on three sites in Syria. He said he ordered the precision strikes in direct retaliation to Bashar al-Assad’s ‘evil and despicable’ poison gas attack on the rebel-held town of Douma.

‘This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by the very terrible regime. The evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air.’ Trump said from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. ‘These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster, instead.’

Trump forcefully confronted Iran and Russia for aligning themselves with ‘barbarism and brutality’ and said the United States and its allies in the strike, France and Britain, are prepared ‘to sustain this response’ until Assad discontinues his use of internationally prohibited chemical weapons.

‘What kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?’ Trump asked. ‘The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.’

Donald Trump is pictured addressing the nation on Friday evening from the Diplomatic Room of the White House, announcing retaliatory airstrikes on Syria

Donald Trump is pictured addressing the nation on Friday evening from the Diplomatic Room of the White House, announcing retaliatory airstrikes on Syria

The Damascus sky lights up with missile fire as the US, Britain and France launch an attack on Syria

The Damascus sky lights up with missile fire as the US, Britain and France launch an attack on Syria

Damascus skies erupt with anti-aircraft fire after Donald Trump announced the strikes on Syria on Friday night ET

Damascus skies erupt with anti-aircraft fire after Donald Trump announced the strikes on Syria on Friday night ET

A cruise missile is pictured being launched from a French military vessel in the Mediterranean sea towards targets in Syria

A cruise missile is pictured being launched from a French military vessel in the Mediterranean sea towards targets in Syria

Part of the calculation this week has also been gaming out how Russia will respond either in the region or around the world

A chemical weapons scientific research center outside Damascus and a chemical weapons storage site and a command post west of Homs were hit in the attack that occurred in early Saturday morning local time.

Shortly after the assault, the Syrian government tweeted, ‘Honorable souls cannot be humiliated.’

State TV said the country’s air defenses shot down 13 missiles in the Kiswah area south of Damascus and claimed three civilians were wounded in the attack on the military base.

The strikes carried out by the United States consisted of more than 100 missiles, the Pentagon indicated, with Secretary of Defense James Mattis describing the number as ‘a little over double the number of weapons’ that were used in last year’s air assault on Syria.

That April 7, 2017 attack on a Syrian airbase after Assad’s confirmed use of chemical weapons on civilians consisted of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Mattis said the latest round of strikes ‘sent a very strong message’ to Assad and his ‘murderous lieutenants’ and that ‘right now this is a one-time shot’ driving home a message that conflicted with the president’s.

‘That will depend on Mr. Assad should he decide to use more chemical weapons in the future,’ Mattis said of future strikes.

In a news conference that followed Trump’s remarks, Mattis confirmed that chlorine gas, and possibly sarin, was used by Assad’s forces to poison Syrians a week ago.

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

Moscow has claimed all along that the chemical weapons attack did not take place and on Friday that it had ‘irrefutable evidence’ that it had been fabricated.

The U.S. meanwhile joined France and the U.K. in pointing the finger for the attack – and their missiles – directly at Assad’s forces.

Mattis said Friday evening that he was ‘confident’ Assad’s regime conducted a chemical weapons attack.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council, ‘We know who did this. Our allies know who did this. Russia can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and cover-ups.’

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

Good evening. As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime.

On April 7th, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents.

We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable. As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important U.S. national interests.

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

The United States has an important national interest in averting a worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.

Last year, in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians and to signal the regime to cease chemical weapons use, we targeted the military base from which the weapons were delivered.

Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations, in consonance with our allies, to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities.

Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.

Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year. This time, our allies and we have struck harder.

Together, we have sent a clear message to Assad, and his murderous lieutenants, that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.

The 70 nations in the defeat ISIS coalition remain committed to defeating ISIS in Syria.

The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone, under any circumstance, in contravention of international law.

I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime. In conducting these strikes, we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties. But it is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process.

In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.

General Dunford will provide a military update.

Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime.

In an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy, my assistant for public affairs, Dana White, and Lt. Gen. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, will provide a brief of known details tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

Syria air defenses strike back after air strikes by U.S., British and French forces in Damascus

Syria air defenses strike back after air strikes by U.S., British and French forces in Damascus

A fighter jet lands at Akrotiri military British Royal Air Force Base, Cyprus, on Saturday, April 14

A fighter jet prepares to land at RAF Akrotiri, a military base Britain maintains on Cyprus

An RAF Tornado comes into land at RAF Akrotiri after concluding its mission. Four Royal Air Force Tornado's took off to conduct strikes

An RAF Tornado comes into land at RAF Akrotiri after concluding its mission.Four Royal Air Force Tornado’s took off to conduct strikes

Smoke rises above Damascus after the air strikes. The US, Britain and France waged up to 120 air strikes

Smoke rises above Damascus after the air strikes. The US, Britain and France waged up to 120 air strikes

Smoke rises over the capital Damascus after air strikes struck Syria early Saturday, April 14, local time

Smoke rises over the capital Damascus after air strikes struck Syria early Saturday, April 14, local time

Trump said the purpose of the U.S.-led strike was to ‘establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use’ of such chemical weapons. But he said America does not seek ‘an indefinite presence’ in Syria and looks forward to the day when it can withdraw its troops from Syria.

In a statement, British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a ‘limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region.’

‘And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity,’ she said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the ‘red line’ set by France in May of 2017 ‘had been crossed.’

‘We cannot tolerate the trivialization of chemical weapons, which is an immediate danger for the Syrian people and our collective security,’ Macron said. ‘This is the direction of the diplomatic initiatives put forward by France at the United Nations Security Council.’

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (right) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford (second from right) brief members of the media on Syria at the Pentagon

A photo released on the Twitter page of the Syrian governments central military media shows anti-aircraft fire through a night-vision device on the outskirts of Damascus

Loud explosions rocked Syria’s capital and and lit up the sky with heavy smoke. Hours later crowds of Assad supporters gathered in the center of Damascus in a show of defiance.

Hundreds of residents gathered in Omayyad Square, many waving Syrian, Russian and Iranian flags. Some clapped their hands and danced, others drove in convoys, honking their horns.

‘We are your men, Bashar,’ they shouted.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said that all three areas the coalition ‘struck and destroyed’ were specific to the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.

The scientific research center was used for the development and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology, he said. Another target, a storage facility west of Homs, was a primary location for sarin and precursor production equipment. The third target was a chemical weapons equipment storage facility and an important command force.

General Dunford said U.S., British and French entrenched naval and air forces were involved, but for operational security, he would not be more specific than that.

The U.S. and the U.K. emphasized that steps had been taken to minimize civilian casualties.

French President Emmanuel Macron said the Assad regime 'crossed a red line' with the chemical attack in Douma. He is pictured centre with close advisers 

French President Emmanuel Macron said the Assad regime ‘crossed a red line’ with the chemical attack in Douma. He is pictured centre with close advisers

British Prime Minister Theresa May described the coalition air assault as a 'limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region'

‘We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents,’ Trump in his address said.

He also said in the remarks that lasted a little more than eight minutes that he had a message for ‘two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime’ — Iran and Russia.

‘In 2013 President Putin and his government promised the world they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise,’ he said. ‘Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace.’

He added, ‘Hopefully someday we’ll get along with Russia, and maybe even Iran, but maybe not. I will say this, the United States has a lot to offer with the greatest and most powerful economy in the history of the world.’

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday strongly condemned the attacks on Syria and said Washington and its allies would bear the responsibility of the raids’ consequences in the region and beyond, Iranian state media reported.

‘Undoubtedly, the United States and its allies, which took military action against Syria despite the absence of any proven evidence… will assume the responsibility for the regional and trans-regional consequences of this adventurism,’ Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement carried by state media.

Russian lawmaker and the deputy head of Russia’s foreign affairs committee Vladimir Dzhabarov said Moscow was likely to call for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the air strikes.

‘The situation is being analysed right now. Russia will demand a meeting of the U.N. security council, I am sure.’

Donald Trump said on Friday evening he had ordered 'precision strikes' on Syria in retaliation for the 'evil and despicable' poison gas attack that killed at least 60 people on April 7 (a young victim is pictured)

Donald Trump said on Friday evening he had ordered ‘precision strikes’ on Syria in retaliation for the ‘evil and despicable’ poison gas attack that killed at least 60 people on April 7 (a young victim is pictured)

A child receives oxygen through a respirator following a poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma

A child receives oxygen through a respirator following a poison gas attack in the rebel-held town of Douma

A poison gas attack killed up to 75 people that the U.S. and its allies say was carried out by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad on April 7 in Douma near Damascus

'These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,' Trump said referring to Assad (pictured)

‘These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster instead,’ Trump said referring to Assad (pictured)

Trump also warned Russia and Iran about their association with the Syrian government. President Putin is pictured on April 12

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FRIDAY NIGHT ADDRESS TO THE NATION

My fellow Americans: a short time ago I ordered the United States armed forces to launch precision strikes on targets associated with the chemical weapons capabilities of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. A combined operation with the armed forces of France and the United Kingdom is now underway. We thank them both.

Tonight I want to speak with you about why we have taken this action. One year ago, Assad launched a savage chemical weapons attack against his own innocent people. The United States responded with 58 missile strikes that destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian air force.

Last Saturday, the Assad regime again deployed chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians, this time in the town of Douma near the Syrian capital of Damascus.

This massacre was a significant escalation in a pattern of chemical weapons use by the very terrible regime. the evil and despicable attack left mothers and fathers, infants and children thrashing in pain and gasping for air.

These are not the actions of a man. They are crimes of a monster, instead.

Following the horrors of World War I a century ago, civilized nations joined together to ban chemical warfare. Chemical weapons are uniquely dangerous not only because they inflict gruesome suffering but because even small amounts can unleash widespread devastation.

The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States. The combined American, British and French response to these atrocities will integrate all instruments of our national power — military, economic, and diplomatic.

We are prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents. I also have a message tonight for two governments most responsible for supporting, equipping and financing the criminal Assad regime.

To Iran and to Russia I ask, what kind of a nation wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children? The nations of the world can be judged by the friends they keep. No nation can succeed in the long run by promoting rogue states, brutal tyrants and murderous dictators.

In 2013 President Putin and his government promised the world they would guarantee the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad’s recent attack and today’s response are the direct result of Russia’s failure to keep that promise. Russia must decide if it will continue down this dark path or if it will join with civilized nations as a force for stability and peace.

Hopefully some day we’ll get along with Russia and maybe even Iran, but maybe not. I will say this, the United States has a lot to offer with the greatest and most powerful economy in the history of the world.

In Syria the United States with but a small force being used to eliminate what is left of ISIS is doing what is necessary to protect the American people. Over the last year, nearly 100 percent of the territory once controlled by the so-called ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq has been liberated and eliminated.

The United States has also rebuilt our friendships across the Middle East. We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing large amounts of money for the resources, equipment and all of the anti-ISIS effort. Increased engagement from our friends, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and others can ensure that Iran does not profit from the eradication of ISIS.

America does not seek an indefinite presence in Syria. Under no circumstances. As other nations step up their contributions, we look forward to the day when we can bring our warriors home and great warriors they are.

Looking around our very troubled world, Americans have no illusions. We cannot purge the world of evil or act everywhere there is tyranny. No amount of American blood or treasure can produce lasting peace and security in the Middle East. It’s a troubled place. We will try to make it better, but it is a troubled place. The United States will be a partner and a friend, but the fate of the region lies in the hands of its own people.

In the last century, we looked straight into the darkest places of the human soul. We saw the anguish that can be unleashed and the evil that can take hold. By the end of World War I, more than 1 million people had been killed or injured by chemical weapons. We never want to see that ghastly specter return.

So today, the nations of Britain, France and the United States of America have marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality. Tonight I ask all Americans to say a prayer for our noble warriors and our allies as they carry out their missions.

We pray that God will bring comfort to those suffering in Syria. We pray that God there guide the whole region toward a future of dignity and of peace. And we pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the United States of America. Thank you, and good night. Thank you

Russia’s Ambassador to the United States warned the White House on Friday that military strikes against its ally ‘will not be left without consequences’.

‘Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible,’ Anatoly Antonov saidl ‘The U.S. – the possessor of the biggest arsenal of chemical weapons – has no moral right to blame other countries,’ he added.

Alexander Sherin, deputy head of the State Duma’s defense committee, said Trump ‘can be called Adolf Hitler No. 2 of our time – because, you see, he even chose the time that Hitler attacked the Soviet Union,’ according to state news agency RIA-Novosti.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, in a statement on Facebook, said the U.S. struck Syria when the country finally had a chance at peace.

‘One must be really exceptional to strike Syria’s capital when the country finally got a chance for a peaceful future,’ she wrote.

Israeli officials backed the move, with an unnamed spokesman telling Reuters that the three allies were right to enforce the ban on chemical warfare.

‘Last year, President Trump made clear that the use of chemical weapons crosses a red line. Tonight, under American leadership, the United States, France and the United Kingdom enforced that line,’ the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

‘Syria continues to engage in and provide a base for murderous actions, including those of Iran, that put its territory, its forces and its leadership at risk.’

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also backed the attack. ‘Canada condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of chemical weapons in last week’s attack in eastern Ghouta, Syria,’ Trudeau said.

‘Canada supports the decision by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France to take action to degrade the Assad regime’s ability to launch chemical weapons attacks against its own people. We will continue to work with our international partners to further investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Those responsible must be brought to justice.’

Syrian government supporters wave Syrian, Iranian and Russian flags as they chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations

Syrian government supporters wave Syrian, Iranian and Russian flags as they chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations

Syrian government supporters chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations in Damascus following the strikes

Syrian government supporters chant slogans against U.S. President Trump during demonstrations in Damascus following the strikes

Protesters stand outside Trump Tower demonstrating against military strikes in Syria, late on Friday in New York

Protesters stand outside Trump Tower demonstrating against military strikes in Syria, late on Friday in New York

U.S. air strikes had been expected since harrowing footage surfaced of the aftermath of the toxic gas attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma a week ago. Trump had reacted with a tweet warning Assad and his allies that the action would not go unchecked.

‘Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,’ he declared. ‘President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay.’

Trump told reporters that the list of people he’d punish included Russian President Vladimir Putin, if appropriate.

‘Everybody’s gonna pay a price. He will. Everybody will,’ the U.S. president said.

After Russia rejected a U.S.-sponsored resolution authorizing a probe of the gas attack and vowed to shoot down U.S. missiles fired upon Syria, Trump took aim at the Kremlin.

‘Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and “smart!” You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!’ Trump tweeted.

The White House left open the possibility of direct, military engagement with Russia after the tweet.

Russia’s deputy prime minister, Arkady Dvorkovich, just brushed the rebuke off, however, saying, according to state media, ‘We cannot depend on the mood of someone on the other side of the ocean when he wakes up, on what a specific person takes into his head in the morning.’

The French presidency on Saturday released a video on Twitter showing what it said were Rafale war planes taking off to attack targets in Syria

The French presidency on Saturday released a video on Twitter showing what it said were Rafale war planes taking off to attack targets in Syria

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

It was not immediately clear whether the planes were taking off from an aircraft carrier or a military base on land in video released by the French presidency

Moscow has claimed all along that the chemical weapons attack did not take place and on Friday that it had ‘irrefutable evidence’ that it had been fabricated.

The U.S. meanwhile joined France and the U.K. in pointing the finger for the attack – and their missiles – directly at Assad’s forces.

Mattis said Friday evening that he was ‘confident’ Assad’s regime conducted a chemical weapons attack.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., said at an emergency meeting of the Security Council, ‘We know who did this. Our allies know who did this. Russia can complain all it wants about fake news, but no one is buying its lies and cover-ups.’

Defense Secretary James Mattis’ statement

Good evening. As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime.

On April 7th, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents.

We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable. As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important U.S. national interests.

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

Defense Secretary James Mattis says the U.S. and its allies have taken ‘decisive action’ against Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure

The United States has an important national interest in averting a worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons. 

Last year, in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians and to signal the regime to cease chemical weapons use, we targeted the military base from which the weapons were delivered.

Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations, in consonance with our allies, to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities.

Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.

Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year. This time, our allies and we have struck harder.

Together, we have sent a clear message to Assad, and his murderous lieutenants, that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.

The 70 nations in the defeat ISIS coalition remain committed to defeating ISIS in Syria.

The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone, under any circumstance, in contravention of international law.

I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime. In conducting these strikes, we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties. But it is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process.

In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.

General Dunford will provide a military update.

Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime.

In an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy, my assistant for public affairs, Dana White, and Lt. Gen. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, will provide a brief of known details tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

The Friday night assault earned tepid support from Democrats in Congress who said they are awaiting additional information from the Trump administration about the targets and goals of the strike.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the upper chamber’s Intelligence Committee, said, ‘While the U.S. and our allies must not turn a blind eye to Assad’s vile and inhumane attacks against his own citizens, military action in Syria must be measured, as part of a coherent strategy to prevent Assad from using chemical weapons without further destabilizing an already-volatile region or inadvertently expanding the conflict.’

Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, said that Assad’s weapons attack was a ‘brutally inhumane war crime that demands a strong, smart and calculated response.

But she argued, ‘One night of airstrikes is not a substitute for a clear, comprehensive Syria strategy.

‘The President must come to Congress and secure an Authorization for Use of Military Force by proposing a comprehensive strategy with clear objectives that keep our military safe and avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians,’ the leading House Democrat insisted in a statement. ‘President Trump must also hold Putin accountable for his enabling of the Assad regime’s atrocities against the Syrian people.’

Vice President Mike Pence briefed Pelosi and other congressional leaders by phone after skipping a reception and rushing back to his hotel in Lima, Peru.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell received calls notifying them of the action before the president’s address, the vice president’s communications director, Jarrod Agen, said. So did Pelosi. Pence was unable to reach Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer until afterward, Pence’s spokesman explained, because the top-ranking Democrat was on a flight.

The vice president was attending a summit in Peru on Friday in Trump’s stead. Trump called off his trip as he mulled how to respond to the attack in Syria.

House Speaker Paul Ryan meanwhile praised Trump’s ‘decisive action in coordination with our allies,’ adding, ‘We are united in our resolve.’

Senate Armed Service Committee Chairman John McCain applauded the airstrikes but said ‘they alone will not achieve U.S. objectives in the Middle East.’

‘I hope these strikes impose meaningful costs on Assad. The message to Assad must be that the cost of using chemical weapons is worse than any perceived benefit, that the United States and our allies have the will and capability to continue imposing those costs, and that Iran and Russia will ultimately be unsuccessful in protecting Assad from our punative response,’ McCain said in a statement.

Schumer said the airstrikes were ‘appropriate’ yet cautioned the Trump administration ‘to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria.’

Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said there ‘is absolutely no question’ the gas attack merits a strong response. However, he said he remains concerned the U.S. will become mired in the ‘horrific and complex civil war that has been raging in Syria.

‘While these joint American, British and French strikes are morally justified against the Assad regime’s gassing of its own people, they take place with no congressional authorization,’ he asserted.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, also said: ‘President Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress’s approval is illegal and – absent a broader strategy – it’s reckless.

‘Last week, President Trump was adamant that the U.S. was leaving Syria imminently. This week, he is opening a new military front. Assad must face consequences for his war crimes, but Presidents cannot initiate military action when there isn’t an imminent threat to American lives.’

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said his committee would convene a hearing next week on U.S. policy for the region. ‘The administration needs to begin fully explaining its strategy for the months ahead,’ he said.

‘Military force cannot be the only means of responding to these atrocities. The U.S. must leverage strong diplomacy and serious financial pressure. That’s why, last year, the House led in passing tough new sanctions against Assad and his enablers. The Senate needs to move this legislation to the president’s desk quickly.’

‘I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest’: Theresa May’s statement in full

Theresa May's statement in full 

Theresa May’s statement in full

‘This evening I have authorised British armed forces to conduct co-ordinated and targeted strikes to degrade the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.

‘We are acting together with our American and French allies.

‘In Douma, last Saturday a chemical weapons attack killed up to 75 people, including young children, in circumstances of pure horror.

‘The fact of this attack should surprise no-one.

‘The Syrian Regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way.

‘And a significant body of information including intelligence indicates the Syrian Regime is responsible for this latest attack.

‘This persistent pattern of behaviour must be stopped – not just to protect innocent people in Syria from the horrific deaths and casualties caused by chemical weapons but also because we cannot allow the erosion of the international norm that prevents the use of these weapons.

‘We have sought to use every possible diplomatic channel to achieve this.

‘But our efforts have been repeatedly thwarted. Even this week the Russians vetoed a Resolution at the UN Security Council which would have established an independent investigation into the Douma attack.

‘So there is no practicable alternative to the use of force to degrade and deter the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Regime.

‘This is not about intervening in a civil war. It is not about regime change.

‘It is about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties.

‘And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian Regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity.

‘At this time, my thoughts are with our brave British servicemen and women – and our French and American partners – who are carrying out their duty with the greatest professionalism.

‘The speed with which we are acting is essential in co-operating with our partners to alleviate further humanitarian suffering and to maintain the vital security of our operations.

‘This is the first time as Prime Minister that I have had to take the decision to commit our armed forces in combat – and it is not a decision I have taken lightly.

‘I have done so because I judge this action to be in Britain’s national interest.

‘We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised – within Syria, on the streets of the UK, or anywhere else in our world.

‘We would have preferred an alternative path. But on this occasion there is none.

‘History teaches us that the international community must defend the global rules and standards that keep us all safe.

‘That is what our country has always done. And what we will continue to do. ‘

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5614593/Donald-Trump-expected-make-major-announcement-Syria-9pm-ET.html#ixzz5CfdpDAFj

 

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Willful blindness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Willful blindness (sometimes called ignorance of law,[1]:761willful ignorance or contrived ignorance or Nelsonian knowledge) is a term used in law to describe a situation in which a person seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally keeping himself or herself unaware of facts that would render him or her liable. In United States v. Jewell, the court held that proof of willful ignorance satisfied the requirement of knowledge as to criminal possession and importation of drugs.[1]:225

Description

Willful blindness is a term used in law to describe a situation in which a person seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally keeping oneself unaware of facts that would render liability.

Although the term was originally—and still is—used in legal contexts, the phrase “willful ignorance” has come to mean any situation in which people intentionally turn their attention away from an ethical problem that is believed to be important by those using the phrase (for instance, because the problem is too disturbing for people to want it dominating their thoughts, or from the knowledge that solving the problem would require extensive effort).

Precedent in the United States

In United States v. Jewell, the court held that proof of willful ignorance satisfied the requirement of knowledge as to criminal possession and importation of drugs.[1]:225 In a number of cases in the United States of America, persons transporting packages containing illegal drugs have asserted that they never asked what the contents of the packages were and so lacked the requisite intent to break the law. Such defenses have not succeeded, as courts have been quick to determine that the defendantshould have known what was in the package and exercised criminal recklessness by failing to find out the package’s contents.[citation needed] Notably, this rule has only ever been applied to independent couriers, and has never been used to hold larger services that qualify as common carriers (e.g., FedExUnited Parcel Service, or the U.S. Postal Service) liable for the contents of packages they deliver.

A famous example of such a defense being denied occurred in In re Aimster Copyright Litigation,[2] in which the defendants argued that the file-swapping technology was designed in such a way that they had no way of monitoring the content of swapped files. They suggested that their inability to monitor the activities of users meant that they could not be contributing to copyright infringement by the users. The court held that this was willful blindness on the defendant’s part and would not constitute a defense to a claim of contributory infringement.

See also

References

  1. Jump up to:a b c Criminal Law – Cases and Materials, 7th ed. 2012, Wolters Kluwer Law & BusinessJohn KaplanRobert WeisbergGuyora BinderISBN 978-1-4548-0698-1[1]
  2. Jump up^ 334 F.3d 643 (7th Cir. 2003)

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willful_blindness

James Comey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
James Comey
James Comey official portrait.jpg
7th Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
In office
September 4, 2013 – May 9, 2017
President Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Deputy Sean M. Joyce
Mark F. Giuliano
Andrew McCabe
Preceded by Robert Mueller
Succeeded by Andrew McCabe (Acting)
31st United States Deputy Attorney General
In office
December 9, 2003 – August 15, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Larry Thompson
Succeeded by Paul McNulty
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York
In office
January 7, 2002 – December 15, 2003
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Mary Jo White
Succeeded by David N. Kelley
Personal details
Born James Brien Comey Jr.
December 14, 1960 (age 57)
Yonkers, New York, U.S.
Political party Independent (2016–present)[1]
Other political
affiliations
Republican (before 2016)
Spouse(s) Patrice Failor
Children 5
Education College of William and Mary(BS)
University of Chicago (JD)
Signature

James Brien Comey Jr. (born December 14, 1960) is an American lawyer, who served as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from September 4, 2013, until his dismissal on May 9, 2017.[2]Comey has been a registered Republican for most of his life but has recently described himself as unaffiliated.[3]

Comey was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York from January 2002 to December 2003, and subsequently the United States Deputy Attorney General from December 2003 to August 2005 in the administration of President George W. Bush. Comey appointed Patrick Fitzgerald to be the Special Counsel to head the grand jury investigation into the Plame affair after Attorney General John Ashcroftrecused himself.

In August 2005, Comey left the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and became general counsel and senior vice president of Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland.[4] In 2010, he became general counsel at Bridgewater Associates, based in Westport, Connecticut. In early 2013, he left Bridgewater to become a Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law at Columbia Law School. He served on the board of directors of HSBC Holdings until July 2013.[5]

In September 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Comey to the position of Director of the FBI.[6] In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing the FBI’s investigation of the Hillary Clintonemail controversy. His role in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, particularly with regard to his public communications, was highly controversial.[7] Some analysts feel that Comey’s decisions might have cost Clinton the presidency. In one of those decisions, he reopened the investigation into Clinton’s emails less than two weeks before the election.[8][9][10] Comey also received heavy criticism from Republicans, in part after it was revealed that he had begun drafting an exoneration letter for Clinton before the investigation was complete.[11]

President Donald Trump dismissed Comey on May 9, 2017.[12][13][14] Statements from Trump and the White House suggested that he had been dismissed to ease the “pressure” Trump was under due to the Russia investigation.[15][16][17] Later that month he arranged for a friend to tell the press about a memo he had written after a February 14 private meeting with the president. It said Trump had asked him to end the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn, the former National Security Advisor. The dismissal, the memo, and Comey’s subsequent Congressional testimony were interpreted by some commentators as evidence of obstruction of justice by the President, and became part of a widening investigation by Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel appointed to probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.[18]

Early life

Comey was born in 1960 in Yonkers, New York, to parents Joan Marie Comey (née Herald)[19] and J. Brien Comey.[20] His grandfather, William J. Comey, was an officer and later commissioner of the Yonkers Police Department.[21] The family moved to Allendale, New Jersey, in the early 1970s.[22][23] His father worked in corporate real estate and his mother was a computer consultant and homemaker.[24] Comey is of Irish heritage.[25] He attended Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale.[26] Comey graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1982, majoring in chemistry and religion. His senior thesis analyzed the liberal theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and the conservative televangelistJerry Falwell, emphasizing their common belief in public action.[27] He received his Juris Doctor(JD) from the University of Chicago Law School in 1985.[28]

Early career (1985–1993)

After law school, Comey served as a law clerk for then-United States District Judge John M. Walker Jr. in Manhattan. Then, he was an associate for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in their New York office. He joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, where he worked from 1987 to 1993. While there, he served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division and helped prosecute the Gambino crime family.[29]

Clinton administration (1996–2001)

Assistant U.S. Attorney

From 1996 to 2001, Comey served as Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of the Richmond Division of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.[10] In 1996, Comey acted as deputy special counsel to the Senate Whitewater Committee.[30] He also served as the lead prosecutor in the case concerning the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia.[31] While in Richmond, Comey served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law.[28]

Bush administration (2002–2005)

U.S. Attorney

Comey was the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, from January 2002 to the time of his confirmation as Deputy Attorney General on December 11, 2003.[28] Among his first tasks was to take over the investigation into President Bill Clinton‘s controversial pardon of Marc Rich.[30] In November 2002, he led the prosecution of three men involved in one of the largest identity fraud cases in American history.[32] The fraud had lasted two years and resulted in thousands of people across the country collectively losing well over $3 million.[32] He also led the indictment of Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas for bank fraudwire fraud, and securities fraud. Rigas was convicted of the charges in 2004 and in 2005, was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Adelphia Corporation was forced to file for bankruptcy after it acknowledged that it took $3.3 billion in false loans. It was “one of the most elaborate and extensive corporate frauds in United States history”.[33][34][35][36]

In February 2003, Comey was the lead prosecutor of Martha Stewart, who was indicted on the charges of securities fraudobstruction of justice, and lying to an FBI agent.[10] She sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems, making $227,824. The next day, the Food and Drug Administration refused to accept the company’s application for Erbitux.[37] In March 2003, he led the indictment of ImClone CEO Samuel Waksal, who pleaded guilty to avoiding paying $1.2 million in sales taxes on $15 million worth of contemporary paintings. The works were by Mark RothkoRichard SerraRoy Lichtenstein, and Willem de Kooning.[38] In April 2003, he led the indictment of Frank Quattrone, who allegedly urged subordinates in 2000 to destroy evidence sought by investigators looking into his investment banking practices at Credit Suisse First Boston.[39] In November 2003, he led the prosecutions in “Operation Wooden Nickel”, which resulted in complaints and indictments against 47 people involved in foreign exchange trading scams.[40]

Deputy Attorney General

NSA domestic wiretapping

In early January 2006, The New York Times, as part of its investigation into domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency, reported that Comey, who was Acting Attorney General during the March 2004 hospitalization of John Ashcroft, refused to certify the legality of central aspects of the NSA program.[41] In order for the program to continue, the certification was required under White House procedures.[42]

In March 2004, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert S. Mueller III and Comey threatened the Bush administration with their resignations if the White House overruled the DOJ finding that the domestic wiretapping under the Terrorist Surveillance Program (TSP) was unconstitutional, if such were done without a court warrant.[43] On March 10, 2004, United States Attorney General (USAG) John Ashcroft was being visited by his wife as he was treated in the intensive care unit at the George Washington University Hospital. She solicited Mueller and Comey to join them, and shortly after their arrival, they were joined by Jack Goldsmith of the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel and Patrick Philbrin. In Goldsmith’s 2007 memoir, he said Comey had come to the hospital to give Ashcroft support in withstanding pressure from the White House.[44] None of the four visitors wanted the TSP reauthorized. After the quartet’s arrival, Ashcroft refused to give his consent to its extension, despite being pressured at the hospital soon afterward by Andrew H. Card Jr.White House Chief of Staff, and Alberto R. Gonzales, then-White House counsel and future Attorney General. The two were requesting that Ashcroft waive the DOJ ruling and permit the domestic warrantless eavesdropping program to continue beyond its imminent expiration date. Ashcroft additionally informed the pair that due to his illness, he had delegated his powers as USAG to Comey.[45][42] Comey later confirmed these events took place (but declined to confirm the specific program) in testimony to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on May 16, 2007.[46][47][48][49][50][51] FBI director Mueller’s notes on the March 10, 2004, incident, which were released to a House Judiciary committee, confirms that he “Saw (the) AG, John Ashcroft in the room (who was) feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed.”[52]

Comey and Mueller withdrew their threats to resign after meeting directly on March 12, 2004, with President Bush, who gave his support to making requisite changes in the surveillance program.[53]

Enhanced interrogation techniques

When Comey was Deputy Attorney General in 2005, he endorsed a memorandum that approved the use of 13 enhanced interrogation techniques that included waterboarding[41] and sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours, which would be used by the CIA when interrogating suspects.[54][55] Comey objected to a second memorandum, drafted by Daniel Levin and signed by Steven G. Bradbury, which stated that these techniques could be used in combination.[54] Comey was one of the few members of the Bush administration who had tried to prevent or limit the use of torture.[56][57][58]

During his 2013 confirmation hearing, Comey stated that in his personal opinion, waterboarding was torture,[59] the United Nations Convention against Torture was “very vague” and difficult to interpret as banning the practice.[44] Even though the practice was legal at the time,[54] he strongly disagreed with the techniques and as a matter of policy, he opposed implementing them.[55][60] His objections were ultimately overruled by the National Security Council.[61]

Private sector (2005–2013)

In the fall of 2005, Comey announced that he was leaving the Department of Justice.[62] In August 2005, it was announced that Comey would enter the private sector, becoming the General Counsel and Senior Vice President for Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Department of Defense‘s largest contractor.[63] Comey’s tenure took effect on October 1, 2005,[64] serving in that capacity until June 2, 2010, when he announced he would leave Lockheed Martin to join the senior management committee at Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based investment management firm.[65] Comey received a three million dollar payout from Bridgewater, and his net worth is estimated at 14 million dollars.[66][67] February 1, 2013, after leaving Bridgewater, he was appointed by Columbia University Law School as a Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law.[68] He was also appointed to the board of directors of the London-based financial institutionHSBC Holdings,[69] to improve the company’s compliance program after its $1.9 billion settlement with the Justice Department for failing to comply with basic due diligence requirements for money laundering regarding Mexican drug cartels and terrorism financing.[70][71] Since 2012, he has also served on the Defense Legal Policy Board.[72]

Testimony before congressional committees

Dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy

In May 2007, Comey testified before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the House Judiciary subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law on the U.S. Attorney dismissal controversy.[62] His testimony contradicted that of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who had said the firings had been due to poor performance on the part of some of the dismissed prosecutors. Comey stressed that the Justice Department had to be perceived as nonpartisan and nonpolitical to function.[73]

The Department of Justice, in my view, is run by political appointees of the President. The U.S. attorneys are political appointees of the President. But once they take those jobs and run this institution, it’s very important in my view for that institution to be another in American life, that—because my people had to stand up before juries of all stripes, talk to sheriffs of all stripes, judges of all stripes. They had to be seen as the good guys, and not as either this administration or that administration.[73]

Supreme Court considerations

Politico reported in May 2009 that White House officials pushed for Comey’s inclusion on the short list of names to replace Associate JusticeDavid Souter on the U.S. Supreme Court.[74]Politico later reported liberal activists were upset about the possibility of Comey’s name being included. John Brittain of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law stated, “[Comey] came in with the Bushies. What makes you think he’d be just an inch or two more to the center than [John] Roberts? I’d be greatly disappointed.”[75]

In 2013, Comey was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.[76]

FBI Director

Comey, President Obama, and outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller at Comey’s nomination to become FBI Director, June 21, 2013

Comey at the Oval Office following the San Bernardino shooting, December 3, 2015

Obama receives an update from Comey and Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco on the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, June 12, 2016

May 2013 reports became official the following month when President Barack Obama revealed that he would nominate Comey to be the next Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, replacing outgoing director Robert Mueller.[77][78][79] Comey was reportedly chosen over another finalist, Lisa Monaco, who had overseen national security issues at the Justice Department during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012.[80][81]

On July 29, 2013, the Senate confirmed Comey to a full ten-year term as FBI Director. He was confirmed by a vote of 93-1. Two senators voted present.[82] He was sworn in as FBI director on September 4, 2013.[83] President Donald Trump fired him on May 9, 2017.[12]

Police and African Americans

Comey at annual FBI and Birmingham Civil Rights Institute conference, May 25, 2016

In February 2015, Comey delivered a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., regarding the relationship between police and the African American community.[84][85] He said that, “At many points in American history, law enforcement enforced the status quo – a status quo that was often brutally unfair to disfavored groups”, mentioning as an example his own Irish ancestors, who he said had often been regarded as drunks and criminals by law enforcement in the early 20th century. He added: “The Irish had some tough times, but little compares to the experience on our soil of black Americans”, going on to highlight current societal issues such as lack of opportunities for employment and education which can lead young black men to crime.[84] Comey stated:

Police officers on patrol in our nation’s cities often work in environments where a hugely disproportionate percentage of street crime is committed by young men of color. Something happens to people of good will working in that environment. After years of police work, officers often can’t help be influenced by the cynicism they feel. A mental shortcut becomes almost irresistible.[84]

In October 2015, Comey gave a speech in which he raised concerns that body worn video results in less effective policing; this opinion contradicted the President’s public position.[86] Days later, President Obama met with Comey in the Oval Office to address the issue.[87] In an October 23 speech at the University of Chicago Law School, Comey said:

I remember being asked why we were doing so much prosecuting in black neighborhoods and locking up so many black men. After all, Richmond was surrounded by areas with largely white populations. Surely there were drug dealers in the suburbs. My answer was simple: We are there in those neighborhoods because that’s where people are dying. These are the guys we lock up because they are the predators choking off the life of a community. We did this work because we believed that all lives matter, especially the most vulnerable.[88]

Comments on Poland and the Holocaust

In April 2015, Comey spoke at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, arguing in favor of more Holocaust education.[89] After The Washington Post printed a version of his speech, Anne Applebaum wrote that his reference to “the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary” was inaccurately saying that Poles were as responsible for the Holocaust as Germans.[90] His speech was also criticized by Polish authorities, and Stephen D. MullUnited States Ambassador to Poland, was called to the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[91] Applebaum wrote that Comey, “in a speech that was reprinted in The Post arguing for more Holocaust education, demonstrated just how badly he needs it himself”.[92]

Ambassador Mull issued an apology for Comey’s remarks.[93] When asked about his remarks, Comey said, “I regret linking Germany and Poland … The Polish state bears no responsibility for the horrors imposed by the Nazis. I wish I had not used any other country names because my point was a universal one about human nature.”[94]

OPM hack

In June 2015, the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that it had been the target of a data breach targeting the records of as many as four million people.[95] Later, Comey put the number at 18 million.[96] The Washington Post has reported that the attack originated in China, citing unnamed government officials.[97] Comey said: “It is a very big deal from a national security perspective and from a counterintelligence perspective. It’s a treasure trove of information about everybody who has worked for, tried to work for, or works for the United States government.”[98]

Hillary Clinton email investigation

On July 10, 2015, the FBI opened a criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State.[7] On June 29, 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton met aboard her plane on the tarmac of the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, leading to calls for her recusal. Lynch then announced that she would “fully” accept the recommendation of the FBI regarding the probe.[7] On July 2, FBI agents completed their investigation by interviewing Hillary Clinton at FBI headquarters, following which Comey and his associates decided there was no basis for criminal indictments in the case.[7]

Release of information about the investigation

On July 5, 2016, Comey announced the FBI’s recommendation that the United States Department of Justice file no criminal charges relating to the Hillary Clinton email controversy.[99] During a 15-minute press conference in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, Comey called Secretary Clinton’s and her top aides’ behavior “extremely careless”, but concluded that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case”.[99] It was believed to be the first time the FBI disclosed its prosecutorial recommendation to the Department of Justice publicly.[99] On July 7, 2016, Comey was questioned by a Republican-led House committee during a hearing regarding the FBI’s recommendation.[100][101]

Comey’s October letter

On October 26, 2016, two weeks before the presidential election, Comey learned that FBI agents investigating an unrelated case involving former Congressman Anthony Weiner had discovered emails on Weiner’s computer between his wife, Huma Abedin, and Hillary Clinton.[7] Believing it would take months to review Weiner’s emails, Comey decided he had to inform Congress that the investigation was being reopened due to new information.[7]Justice Department lawyers warned him that giving out public information about an investigation was inconsistent with department policy, but he considered the policy to be “guidance” rather than an ironclad rule.[102] He decided that not to reveal the new information would be misleading to Congress and the public.[103] On October 28, Comey sent a letter to members of Congress advising them that the FBI was reviewing more emails. Members of Congress leaked the information to the public within minutes.[104] Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as the Clinton and Trump campaigns, called on Comey to provide additional details.

The Clinton campaign and numerous former officials and other commentators criticized his decision to announce the reopened investigation.[105][106][107][108][109][110] Law professor Richard Painter filed complaints with the United States Office of Special Counsel and the United States Office of Government Ethics over Comey’s letter to Congress.[111]

The investigators received additional resources so they could complete their review of the new emails before Election Day,[7] and on November 6, 2016, Comey wrote in a second letter to Congress that “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July”.[112]

Comey was broadly criticized for his actions from both the right and the left.[113][114] According to the Clinton campaign, the letters effectively stopped the campaign’s momentum by hurting Clinton’s chances with voters who were receptive to Trump’s claims of a “rigged system”.[115] Statistician Nate Silver said that Comey had a “large, measurable impact on the race”.[116][117][116][8] Other analysts, such as Democratic strategist David Axelrod, said that Comey’s public actions were just one of several cumulative factors that cost Clinton the election.[118][119] On May 2, 2017, Hillary Clinton told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour: “I was on the way to winning until a 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 and got scared off.”[120] On May 3, 2017, Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that “It makes me mildly nauseous to think that we might have had some impact on the election”, but that “honestly, it wouldn’t change the decision.”[121][122]

Investigations

On January 12, 2017, the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General announced a formal investigation into whether the FBI followed proper procedures in its investigation of Clinton or whether “improper considerations” were made by FBI personnel.[123]

On July 27, 2017, the House Judiciary Committee decided to request documents related to Comey, including the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton, Comey’s conduct during the 2016 election, and his release of his memo to the press.[124][125] The committee’s Republicans also wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to appoint a second special prosecutor to investigate these issues.[126]

In September 2017, two Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, alleged that Comey planned to exonerate Hillary Clinton in her email scandal long before the agency had completed its investigation.[127] The story was confirmed by the FBI in October, which released a Comey memo dated May 2. Comey interviewed Clinton as part of his investigation on July 2. Former FBI official Ron Hosko reacted saying, “You tend to reach final conclusions as the investigation is logically ended. Not months before.” Donald Trump called it “disgraceful.” In contrast, former Department of Justice spokesman Matthew Miller wrote on Twitter, “The decision is never ‘made’ until the end, even when there’s a 99% chance it is only going to go one way.”[128]

Comey’s original draft of the exoneration stated that Clinton had committed “gross negligence,” which is a crime. However, the language was later changed to “extreme carelessness.”[129] In December, it was revealed that the change had been made by Peter Strozk, an FBI official who would later join Mueller’s probe and be dismissed after exchanging private messages with an FBI lawyer that could be seen as favoring Clinton politically.[130]

Russian election interference investigation

On the day of Comey’s July press conference, the FBI acquired the Donald Trump-Russia dossier by Christopher Steele.[7] In late July, the FBI opened an investigation into the Trump campaign.[7] Comey asked President Obama for permission to write an op-ed, which would warn the public that the Russians were interfering in the election. The President denied the request.[7] CIA Director John O. Brennan then gave an unusual private briefing on the Russians to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid; Reid then publicly referred to the briefing.[7] Comey, however, refused to confirm—even in classified Congressional briefings—that the Trump Campaign was under investigation.[7] In early October, meetings were held in the White House Situation Room; National Security Advisor Susan Rice argued that the information should be released, while Comey argued that disclosure was no longer needed.[7]

In January 2017, Comey first met Trump when he briefed the President-elect on the Steele dossier.[131] On January 27, 2017, Trump and Comey dined alone at the White House.[131] According to Trump, Comey requested the dinner so as to ask to keep his job and, when asked, told Trump that he was not under investigation. Trump has stated that he did not ask Comey to pledge his loyalty.[131] However, according to Comey’s associates, Trump requested the dinner, asked Comey to pledge his loyalty, twice, to which Comey replied, twice, that he would always be honest, until Trump asked him if he would promise “honest loyalty”, which Comey did.[131]

On February 14, the day after President Trump fired Michael T. Flynn, Comey met with the President during a terrorism threat briefing in the Oval Office.[132] At the end of the meeting Trump asked the other security chiefs to leave, then told Comey to consider imprisoning reporters over leaks and that “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.”[132] Comey, as is usual, immediately documented the meeting in a memo and shared it with FBI officials.[132] In his Congressional testimony, Comey clarified that he took Trump’s comment to be “an order” to drop the Flynn investigation, but “that he did not consider this an order to drop the Russia investigation as a whole.”[133]

On March 4, 2017, Comey asked the Justice Department for permission, which was not given, to publicly refute Trump’s claim that his phones had been wiretapped by then-President Obama.[134]

On March 20, 2017, in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey confirmed that the FBI has been investigating possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, and whether any crimes were committed.[135] During the hearing, the White House Twitter account posted “The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence the electoral process”, which Comey, when then read the tweet by Congressman Jim Himes, directly refuted.[136] Comey also refuted the President’s Trump Tower wiretapping allegations, testifying “I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI”.[137]

Representative Chris Stewart asked Comey in the hearing: “Mr. Clapper then went on to say that to his knowledge there was no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians. We did not conclude any evidence in our report and when I say ‘our report,’ that is the NSA, FBI, and CIA with my office, the director of national intelligence said anything – any reflection of collusion between the members of Trump campaign and the Russians, there was no evidence of that in our report. Was Mr. Clapper wrong when he said that?” Comey responded: “I think he’s right about characterizing the report which you all have read.”[138] Press Secretary Sean Spicer and a White House tweet then highlighted this testimony as proof that Clapper was “right” there was no evidence of collusion, causing Clapper to release a statement clarifying he had been referring to the evidence as gathered in January and that more investigation is needed.[136]

On May 3, 2017, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey said that Russia is the “greatest threat of any nation on Earth … One of the biggest lessons learned is that Russia will do this again. Because of 2016 election, they know it worked.”[139] He also said that Russia should pay a price for interfering.[140]

In early May, a few days before he was fired, Comey reportedly asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in funding and personnel for the Russia probe.[13] On May 11, 2017, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that he was unaware of the request and stated, “I believe we have the adequate resources to do it and I know that we have resourced that investigation adequately.”[141][142]

Comey had been scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 11, but after he was dismissed on May 9, committee chair Senator Richard Burr said that Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe would appear instead.[143] Comey spoke before the Committee on June 8.[144][145] His prepared opening statements were pre-released by the Intelligence Committee on their website one day before the official hearings.[146][147][148]

Government surveillance oversight

In his July 2013 FBI confirmation hearing, Comey said that the oversight mechanisms of the U.S. government have sufficient privacy protections.[149] In a November 2014 New York Times Magazine article, Yale historian Beverly Gage reported that Comey keeps on his desk a copy of the FBI request to wiretap Martin Luther King Jr. “as a reminder of the bureau’s capacity to do wrong”.[150]

In 2016, he and his agency were criticized for their request to Apple Inc. to install a “back door” for U.S. surveillance agencies to use. Former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden stated: “Jim would like a back door available to American law enforcement in all devices globally. And, frankly, I think on balance that actually harms American safety and security, even though it might make Jim’s job a bit easier in some specific circumstances.”[151]

Comey, speaking at a cybersecurity conference in 2017, told the audience, “There is no such thing as absolute privacy in America; there is no place outside of judicial reach.”[152]

Dismissal

File:'Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI.' (C-SPAN).webm
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Comey: “Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI.”

Trump’s letter firing Comey

President Trump formally dismissed Comey on May 9, 2017, less than 4 years into his 10-year term as Director of the FBI. Comey first learned of his termination from television news reports that flashed on screen while he was delivering a speech to agents at the Los Angeles Field Office.[153] Sources said he was surprised and caught off guard by the termination. Comey immediately departed for Washington, D.C., and was forced to cancel his scheduled speech that night at an FBI recruitment event.[154] Trump reportedly called Deputy Director Andrew McCabe the next day, demanding to know why Comey had been allowed to fly back to Washington on an FBI jet after he had been fired.[155]

On May 10, Comey sent a letter to FBI staff in which he said, “I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.”[156] In the absence of a Senate-confirmed FBI director, McCabe automatically became Acting Director.[157]

Reasons for dismissal

The White House initially stated the firing was on the recommendation of United States Attorney GeneralJeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney GeneralRod Rosenstein, both men whom Comey reported to.[158] Rosenstein had sent a memorandum to Sessions, forwarded to Trump, in which Rosenstein listed objections to Comey’s conduct in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.[159] This allowed the Trump administration to attribute Comey’s firing to Rosenstein’s recommendation about the Clinton email controversy. It was later revealed that on May 8, Trump had requested Sessions and Rosenstein to detail in writing a case against Comey.[160][161]Rosenstein’s memo was forwarded to Trump on May 9 and was then construed as a recommendation to dismiss Comey, which Trump immediately did. In Trump’s termination letter to Comey, he attributed the firing to the two letters from Sessions and Rosenstein.[162][163] On May 10, Trump told reporters he had fired Comey because Comey “wasn’t doing a good job”.[164] White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders added that the FBI rank and file had lost faith in Comey and that she had “heard from countless members of the FBI that are grateful and thankful for the president’s decision”.[165]

By May 11, however, in a direct contradiction of the earlier statements by the White House, Vice President Mike Pence, and the contents of the dismissal letter itself, President Trump stated to Lester Holt in an NBC News interview that Comey’s dismissal was in fact “my decision” and “I was going to fire [Comey] regardless of recommendation [by Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein].”[166][167] Trump later said of the dismissal “when I decided to just do it [fire Comey], I said to myself, I said ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.'”[168] In the same televised interview, Trump labelled Comey “a showboat” and “grandstander”.

On May 19, the New York Times published excerpts of an official White House document summarizing Trump’s private meeting, the day after the firing, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak in the Oval Office. Trump told Kislyak and Lavrov that he “just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” Trump added: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off”, further adding “I’m not under investigation.”[17][169][170][171]

According to reports, Trump had been openly talking to aides about finding a reason to fire Comey for at least a week before both the dismissal and the requesting of memoranda from Sessions and Rosenstein the day prior to the dismissal. Trump was angry and frustrated when, in the week prior to his dismissal, Comey revealed in Senate testimony the breadth of the counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s effort to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election. He felt Comey was giving too much attention to the Russia probe and not enough to internal leaks to the press from within the government.[163][172] Shortly before Comey was fired, Comey had requested additional money and resources to further expand the probe into Russian interference into the Presidential election.[13] Trump had long questioned Comey’s loyalty to Trump personally, and Comey’s judgment to act in accordance to a loyalty to Trump.[173] Moreover, Trump was angry that Comey would not support his claim that President Barack Obama had his campaign offices wiretapped.[174]

Reference to tapes

On May 12, Trump tweeted “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”,[175] which the media, political and legal analysts, as well as opposition politicians, interpreted as a threat to Comey.[176]

On June 8, when Comey was asked by the Senate Intelligence Committee about the existence of tapes, he replied “Lordy, I hope there are tapes!” He added that he would have no problem with the public release of any recordings.[177]

On June 22, faced with a subpoena for the tapes that Trump alluded to, Trump issued a tweet stating “I have no idea […] whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”[178] Hours later, when asked to clarify the non-denial denial wording of Trump’s tweet regarding the tapes, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that Trump’s tweet was “extremely clear” and that she did “not have anything to add”.[179]Questions raised for clarification on Trump’s tweet centered principally around whether Trump ever had knowledge of said tapes having ever existed and whether he is simply no longer privy to the knowledge of whether said tapes still exist; whether Trump currently has or ever had knowledge of a person or persons other than Trump having made said tapes or recordings, and; whether Trump currently has or ever had knowledge of a person or persons other than Trump currently having or previously having had in their possession said tapes or recordings. U.S. Representative for California, Democrat Adam Schiff, stated that Trump’s tweet “raises as many questions as it answers,” and that in any event, the tweet did not comply with the 23 June deadline, and that Schiff would move forward with subpoenas for the tapes, adding that “[r]egardless of whether the President intends his tweets to be an official reply to the House Intelligence Committee, the White House must respond in writing to our committee as to whether any tapes or recordings exist.”[180]

Aftermath

Comey’s termination was immediately controversial. It was compared to the Saturday Night massacre, President Richard Nixon‘s termination of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had been investigating the Watergate scandal,[181][182] and to the firing of Acting Attorney GeneralSally Yates in January 2017. Many members of Congress expressed concern over the firing and argued that it would put the integrity of the investigation into jeopardy.[183] Critics accused Trump of obstruction of justice.[184]

In the dismissal letter, Trump alleged that Comey had told Trump “on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation.”[185] Fact checkers reported that while they had no way of knowing what Comey may have told Trump privately, no such assertion was on the public record at that time of Comey directly stating that Trump was not personally under investigation.[186] However, in later Congressional testimony, Comey confirmed that on three occasions he volunteered to Trump that the latter was not personally under FBI investigation.[187][188]

According to Comey associates interviewed by news organizations, Trump had asked Comey in January to pledge loyalty to him, to which Comey demurred, instead offering him “honesty”.[131][189] Comey has indicated he is willing to testify about his dismissal in an open hearing.[190] He declined an invitation from the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify before a closed-door session.[190]

On May 11, Acting Director McCabe testified before the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that “Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does” and that “the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey”. This contradicted White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said she had heard from “countless” FBI agents in support of the firing.[191]

On May 16, The New York Times revealed the existence of a memo Comey had written after a February 14 meeting with Trump. It said that Trump had asked him to drop the FBI’s investigation into Mike Flynn, who had been fired as National Security Advisor the day before.[192] Comey later explained that he had arranged, through a friend, for the memo to be shared with the press in hope it might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.[193]

On June 8, 2017, Comey gave public testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his firing. When asked why thought he had been fired, he said he had been confused by the shifting explanations for it but that “I take the president at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation.”[194] He said that he had made contemporaneous notes about several of his conversations with the president because “I was honestly concerned that he might lie about the nature of our meeting so I felt the need to document it.”[194]He said he had not done so with the two previous presidents he had served.

Writings

In August 2017, Macmillan Publishers‘ Flatiron Books announced that it had acquired the rights to Comey’s first book, to be released in spring 2018, in which he will discuss ethics, leadership, and his experience in government.[195] Several publishers had submitted bids in an auction conducted by literary agency Javelin.[196]

In November 2017, the title of his book was revealed to be A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership with a release date of May 1, 2018.[197][198] The release date was moved up to April 17 because of scrutiny faced by the FBI during the Special Counsel investigation.[199] On March 18, presale orders of the not-yet-released book made it the top seller on Amazon.[200] The boom was attributed to a series of Twitter attacks on Comey by Trump, in which Trump claimed that Comey “knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”[201] In response Comey tweeted, “Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.”[200]

Comey confirmed that the Twitter account @projectexile7 (later changed to @formerbu), which uses “Reinhold Niebuhr” as its display name, is operated by him.[202]

Post-government life

In the summer of 2017, Comey gave the convocation speech and a series of lectures at Howard University, a historically black university in Washington, D.C. During the fall of 2018, Comey will return to his alma mater, the College of William & Mary, to teach a course of ethical leadership. He will be an executive professor in education, a nontenured position at the College. Comey will join assistant professor Drew Stelljes to teach the course during the 2018-2019 academic year.[203]

Party affiliation

Although Comey was a registered Republican for most of his life, he disclosed during Congressional testimony on July 7, 2016, that he was no longer registered with any party.[1] Comey donated to Senator John McCain‘s campaign in the 2008 presidential election and to Governor Mitt Romney‘s campaign in the 2012 presidential election.[204]

Personal life

Comey and his wife, Patrice Failor, are the parents of five children.[205] They have also been foster parents.[206] He is of Irish descent and was raised in a Roman Catholic household.[207][208] Comey subsequently joined the United Methodist Church, and has taught Sunday school.[205] He is 6 feet 8 inches (2.03 m) tall.[209]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Comey

Dismissal of James Comey

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Letter from President Donald Trump dismissing FBI Director James Comey

James Comey, the 7th director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was dismissed by U.S. President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017.[1] Comey had been criticized in 2016 for his handling of the FBI‘s investigation of the Hillary Clinton email controversy and in 2017 for the FBI’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections as it related to possible collusion with the 2016 Donald Trump campaign.[2][3]

Trump dismissed Comey by way of a termination letter in which he stated that he was acting on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.[4][5][6] In the following days, he gave numerous explanations of the dismissal that contradicted his staff and also belied the initial impression that Sessions and Rosenstein had influenced his decision.[7][8] Trump publicly stated that he had already decided to fire Comey;[9] it later emerged that he had written his own early draft of the termination letter,[10] and had solicited the Rosenstein memo the day before citing it.[11] He also stated that dismissing Comey relieved unnecessary pressure on his ability to engage and negotiate with Russia, due to Comey’s “grandstanding and politicizing” the investigation.[12][13] Trump was reportedly “enormously frustrated” that Comey would not publicly confirm that the president was not personally under investigation.[14] After his dismissal, Comey publicly testified to the Congress that he told Trump, on three occasions, that he was not personally under investigation in the counterintelligence probe.[15]

Shortly after his termination, in a move that he hoped would prompt a special counsel investigation, Comey asked a friend to leak excerpts to the press of a memo he had written when he was FBI Director, recounting a private conversation with Trump in February 2017.[16] According to Comey, Trump had asked him to “let go” of potential charges against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn whom Trump had fired the day before.[17][18] In light of the dismissal, the memo, and Comey’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017, several media figures, political opponents and legal scholars said that Trump’s acts could be construed as obstruction of justice, while others disagreed.[19][20][21][22]

Following Comey’s dismissal, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation into Russian meddling and related issues that Comey had supervised during his tenure.[23] Trump has called the investigation a “witch hunt” on numerous occasions.[24] [25]

Background

President Barack Obama (right) and James Comey (left) in the White House Rose Garden, Washington, D.C., June 21, 2013, as Obama announced Comey’s nomination as FBI Director

The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is appointed by the President and, since 1972, confirmed by the Senate.[26] Beginning in 1976, the director’s term has been limited to ten years,[27] which is a relatively long tenure that is meant to deter political pressure.[28] The term can be extended with the approval of the Senate. Nevertheless, although the FBI director is appointed for a 10-year term, the president has the power to dismiss the director for any reason.

Before becoming FBI director, Comey, a registered Republican, served in the George W. Bush administration as Deputy Attorney General.[29] He was appointed FBI Director by President Barack Obama.[29] Comey was confirmedby the Senate in 2013 by vote of 93–1.[30]

During his tenure as director of FBI, Comey said there was a need for the Bureau to be independent from politics.[31] But, beginning in 2015 the Bureau became embroiled in investigations that affected the 2016 presidential election.[32] In March 2015, it came to light that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had used a private e-mail server for her work as Secretary of State under President Obama. The FBI launched an investigation to determine whether Clinton had violated the law and whether national security had been jeopardized. In July 2016 Comey announced that he was not recommending that any charges be brought against Clinton. The decision was decried by Republican leaders and candidates, including then-presidential candidate Donald Trump. In late October 2016, Comey announced that the investigation was being re-opened because of additional documents that had been obtained. Two weeks later he announced that no new information had been discovered and the investigation was again being closed.[33] The announcement of the re-opened investigation was seen by many observers as unnecessary and harmful to Clinton’s campaign, and the re-closing of that investigation was also met with complaints.[32][34]

On October 7, 2016,[35] the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) jointly stated that individuals working on behalf of the Russian government had hacked servers and e-mail accounts associated with the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, and forwarded their contents to WikiLeaks.[36] This would be confirmed by numerous private security experts and other government officials. The FBI launched investigations into both the hackings, and contacts between Trump associates and Russia.

In January 2017, Comey testified to Congress confirming Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and confirmed an ongoing investigation although he refused to comment specifically on the Trump organization. President-elect Trump stated his intention to keep Comey as the FBI director. In March, Comey finally confirmed that the FBI was investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russia. He also refuted Trump’s allegations that the Obama administration had wiretapped him.[33]

During the weeks leading up to May 9, grand jury subpoenas were issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria, Virginia, to associates of Michael Flynn for the purpose of obtaining records relating to the investigation of Russia’s role in the election. News outlets became aware of these subpoenas on May 9.[37]

Trump’s dismissal of Comey on May 9, 2017—four years into Comey’s ten-year term[28]—raised the issue of possible political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation by a leading law enforcement agency,[28] as well as other issues.[which?] Although presidents have occasionally clashed with FBI directors,[38] Comey was only the second director to be dismissed since the Bureau’s foundation.[28] The only other occasion was under “dramatically different circumstances”:[39] in 1993 President Bill Clinton fired FBI Director William S. Sessions after a Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility report—published under Clinton’s predecessor, George H. W. Bush—accused Sessions of tax evasion and other ethical lapses.[40][41]

In May, Comey gave additional testimony before the Senate regarding the Clinton e-mail investigation and the Russia probe.[33] News media reported that Comey had requested additional personnel from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to expand the probe into Russia interference.[42] Commenting on the matter, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe “said he was unaware of any such request” but left open the possibility that Comey had requested the president to shift existing resources to the Russian investigation.[43][44]

The dismissal

Comey‘s official portrait as the seventh Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

On May 8, 2017, Trump directed Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to provide advice and input in writing.[45] On Trump’s direction, on May 9, Rosenstein prepared and delivered a memorandum to Sessions relating to Comey (Sessions and Rosenstein had already begun considering whether to dismiss Comey months earlier).[45] Rosenstein’s memorandum said that the “reputation and credibility” of the FBI had been damaged under Comey’s tenure, and the memo presented critical quotes from several former attorneys general in previously published op-eds; Rosenstein concluded that their “nearly unanimous opinions” were that Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation was “wrong.”[5] In his memo Rosenstein asserted that the FBI must have “a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.” He ended with an argument against keeping Comey as FBI director, on the grounds that he was given an opportunity to “admit his errors” but that there is no hope that he will “implement the necessary corrective actions.”[46] Rosenstein also criticized Comey on two grounds: for usurping the prerogative of the Justice Department and the Attorney General in his July 2016 public statements announcing the closure of the investigation into Clinton’s emails, and for making derogatory comments about Clinton in that same meeting.[47] Both of these actions, he argued, were in conflict with longstanding FBI practice. To Comey’s previous defense that Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict of interest, Rosenstein argued that in such a case, it is the duty of the Attorney General to recuse herself, and that there is a process for another Justice Department official to take over her duties.[48]

Termination letter

On May 9, 2017, President Trump sent a termination letter to James Comey:

Dear Director Comey:

I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.

While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.

It is essential that we find new leadership that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.

— Donald J. Trump

Reasons for dismissal

Recommendations of the Attorney General Sessions and Rosenstein

Letter from Atty. GeneralSessions recommending the dismissal

Opinion from Deputy Atty. Gen. Rosenstein (3 pages)

Sessions, in his letter to Trump, cited Rosenstein’s memo as the reason for his own recommendation that Comey be dismissed. In the dismissal letter, Trump cited the recommendations by Sessions and Rosenstein as the reason for Comey’s dismissal.[4][49] Immediately after Trump’s termination announcement. Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sessions and other administration associates stated that Trump fired Comey solely on the recommendations of Sessions and Rosenstein.[50]

On September 1, 2017, The New York Times reported that Trump had drafted a letter to Comey over the weekend of May 4–7, 2017. The draft, which is now in the possession Special Counsel Mueller, was dictated by Trump and written up by Trump aide Stephen Miller. It notified Comey he was being fired and gave a several-page-long explanation of the reasons. The draft was described by people who saw it as a “screed” with an “angry, meandering tone”.[10] On May 8 Trump showed it to senior White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and White House Counsel Don McGahn. McGahn was alarmed at its tone and persuaded Trump not to send that letter. McGahn arranged for Trump to meet with Sessions and Rosenstein, who had been separately discussing plans to fire Comey. Rosenstein was given a copy of the draft and agreed to write a separate memo on the subject. His memo, delivered to Trump on May 9 along with a cover-letter recommendation from Sessions, detailed Comey’s handling of the Clinton email investigation as the reason to dismiss him. Trump then cited Rosenstein’s memo and Sessions’ recommendation as the reason for terminating Comey.[10] Trump had previously praised Comey for renewing the investigation into Clinton’s emails in October 2016.[51]

Based on other reasons

Several other reasons were soon offered. On May 9, a statement by the White House claimed that Comey had “lost the support” of “rank and file” FBI employees, so that the President had no choice but to dismiss him.[52] However, FBI agents “flatly rejected” this assertion,[53] saying that Comey was in fact relatively well-liked and admired within the FBI.[54] In testimony given to the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 11, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabecontradicted the White House’s claim that Comey had lost the confidence of the FBI rank-and-file, saying that Comey “enjoyed broad support within the FBI and does to this day.”[55] Comey, in his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, objected strongly to Trump’s description of the FBI as “in disarray” and “poorly led”. “The administration chose to defame me, and more importantly the FBI,” Comey said. “Those were lies, plain and simple.”[56][57]

On May 10, Trump told reporters he fired Comey “because he wasn’t doing a good job”.[58] On May 11, Trump said that he was going to fire Comey irrespective of any recommendation from the Justice Department.[59][60] On May 18, Rosenstein told members of the Senate that he wrote the dismissal memo while knowing that Trump had already decided to fire Comey.[61] Rosenstein had been contemplating firing Comey for many months.[45]

Within a few days, Trump and other White House officials directly linked the dismissal to the FBI’s Russia investigation. During a May 10 meeting in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Trump told the Russian officials “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job.” He added: “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off”, further adding “I’m not under investigation.”[62][12] The comments were recorded in official White House notes made during the meeting.[63][64] On May 11 Trump told Lester Holt in an NBC News interview, “When I decided [to fire Comey], I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story”,[13] while reiterating his belief that there was no proof Russia was behind any election interference.[65][66] White House officials also stated that firing Comey was a step in letting the probe into Russian election interference “come to its conclusion with integrity”.[67][68] White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders expressed the hope that firing Comey would help bring the Russia investigation to an end.[66]

Other reasons have been offered. Insider sources have claimed that Trump was furious at Comey for refusing during March to back up Trump’s wiretap accusations against former President Barack Obama, as well as not defending him from accusations of collusion with the Russian government.[69][70] According to Comey associates interviewed by The New York TimesAssociated Press, and CBS News, Trump had asked Comey in January to pledge his loyalty to him, and Comey declined to make this pledge, saying that he would give him “honesty” and what Trump called “honest loyalty”.[71][72] Trump denied that he asked Comey for his loyalty, but says such a discussion would not necessarily have been inappropriate.[73] On June 7, 2017, during an interview with MSNBC, House Speaker Paul Ryan stated that it’s “obviously” inappropriate for the president to ask the FBI director for loyalty.[74] According to sources, Comey’s unwillingness to offer personal loyalty to Trump was one of the reasons for the firing.[70][75] Another source told The Atlantic that Trump fired Comey because Trump was concerned about what Flynn would testify in court.[76] The next day, several FBI insiders said Comey was fired because “he refused to end the Russia investigation.”[77] Prior to the firing, senior White House officials had made inquiries to intelligence officials, such as “Can we ask [Comey] to shut down the investigation [of former national security adviser Flynn]? Are you able to assist in this matter?”[78] After his dismissal, Comey recounted that Trump had told him the following in March 2017: “If there were some satellite associates of his who did something wrong, it would be good to find that out, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong and hoped I would find a way to get it out there.”[79][80]

Announcement of dismissal

President Trump had the letter dismissing Comey delivered in a manila folder to FBI headquarters[69] in Washington on the evening of Tuesday, May 9, and a press statement was made by Sean Spicer at the same time.[47] Comey was in Los Angeles that day giving a speech to agents at the Los Angeles Field Office, and Comey learned of the termination through a news report being telecast while he was speaking. (Sources said he was surprised and caught off guard by the termination.) Comey immediately left for Washington, D.C., and cancelled another scheduled speech that night at an FBI recruitment event.[81]

Timing of the dismissal

Observers were suspicious of the timing of the dismissal, given the ongoing Russia investigation.[82][83][84] In an interview with CNN, President Trump’s Counselor Kellyanne Conway denied that Comey’s dismissal was part of a White House cover-up of the Russia investigation.[85] The dismissal took place just a few days after Comey reportedly requested additional resources to step up the Russia investigation; however the Justice Department denied that such a request was made.[69][42] On May 9, before the dismissal, it was revealed that federal prosecutors issued grand jury subpoenas to Flynn’s associates, representing a significant escalation in the FBI’s Russia investigation.[37][86]

Comey was scheduled to testify at the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 11.[87] Andrew McCabe, as acting FBI director, gave the report instead.[88]

Other events of May 9

On the same day, May 9, President Trump hired a law firm to send a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee denying any business or other connections to Russia, “with some exceptions”. The law firm itself turned out to have “deep ties” to Russia, and had even been selected as “Russia Law Firm of 2016”.[89][90] No evidence was provided in the letter itself, such as tax returns.[91] The letter was a response to earlier statements by Senator Lindsey Graham stating that he wanted to know whether there were any such ties.[3]

Reactions

Media reports cast doubt on the original justification for Comey’s dismissal; Trump’s decision to fire Comey had reportedly happened first, then Trump sought “advice and input” from Sessions and Rosenstein on May 8, who responded by writing letters to justify the decision.[9][45] Sessions and Rosenstein had already been considering whether to dismiss Comey before Trump decided to do so, with their stated objectives including restoration of the FBI’s credibility, limiting public announcements by the FBI, stopping leaks, and protecting the authority of the Department of Justice over the FBI.[45]

According to an anonymous source who spoke to The Washington Post, Rosenstein threatened to resign after his letter was cited as the primary reason for Comey’s dismissal.[92] Other media noted the disconnect between the dismissal and Trump’s praise of Comey’s actions in the campaign and throughout his presidency until a week beforehand.[93]

News commentators characterized the termination as extraordinary and controversial. CNN’s legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin went so far as to characterize it as an “abuse of power”.[94] It was compared to the Saturday Night MassacrePresident Richard Nixon‘s termination of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who had been investigating the Watergate scandal.[95] John Dean, White House Counsel under President Nixon, called it a “a very Nixonian move” saying that it “could have been a quiet resignation, but instead it was an angry dismissal”.[96] Among the two reporters noted for investigating the Watergate scandal, Bob Woodward said that “there is an immense amount of smoke” but that comparisons of the Comey dismissal to Watergate were premature,[97] while Carl Bernstein said that the firing of an FBI director overseeing an active investigation was a “potentially more dangerous situation than Watergate.”[98]

The New York Times Editorial Board published an editorial slamming the move, calling Trump’s explanation “impossible to take at face value” and stating Trump had “decisively crippled the FBI’s ability to carry out an investigation of him and his associates”.[99]

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer renewed his call for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s involvement in the election and its influence on members of the Trump campaign and administration.[100][101] Republican Senator John McCain renewed his call for a special congressional committee to investigate.[102] Democratic Representative Adam Schiff observed that Sessions had previously recused himself from involvement in the Russia investigation and suggested that recommending Comey’s termination violated that pledge because Comey was the lead investigator.[103] In addition to the criticisms from Democratic leaders, some Republican leaders also expressed concern, including Richard BurrRoy BluntBob CorkerJustin Amash, and others.[104][105] Other Republican leaders came to Trump’s defense including Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham.[106]

Senator Al Franken called Sessions’ actions in recommending Comey’s dismissal a breach by Sessions of his commitment in March 2017 to recuse himself from anything to do with the investigation into ties between Trump’s team and Russia, as well as from the Clinton email controversy. Franken called Sessions’ action a “complete betrayal” of his promise to recuse.[107]

Immediate response from the White House regarding concerns from congressional leaders and the media was limited. White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Tucker Carlson of Fox News that it was time to “move on” from accusations of collusion between Trump and Russia, but added that “Comey’s firing would not impact the ongoing investigations”: “You will have the same people that will be carrying it out to the Department of Justice. The process continues both, I believe, in the House and Senate committees, and I don’t see any change or disruption there.”[108][109] Kellyanne Conway denied that Comey’s dismissal was part of a White House cover-up.[85] Trump furthermore commented on Twitter, mocking Senators Chuck Schumer and Richard Blumenthal, saying that Schumer “stated recently, ‘I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer.’ Then acts so indignant” and that Blumenthal “devised one of the greatest military frauds in U.S. history”.[110]

Post-dismissal

Criticism of Trump’s decision came immediately from various experts on governance and authoritarianism,[111][112][113][114] and various politicians from across the political spectrum.[100][101][115] Top Republican politicians supported the firing.[116] Many elected officials called for a special prosecutor or independent commission to continue the investigation into Russia’s influence on the election,[115] while some Republicans stated that such a move would be premature.[116]

Reactions from within the FBI

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‘FBI Acting Chief Contradicts Trump on Comey’. Video from Voice of America.

Comey was generally well-liked within the FBI, and his sudden dismissal shocked many FBI agents, who admired Comey for his political independence. Agents were stunned that Comey was fired in the midst of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.[54][53] The dismissal reportedly damaged morale within the Bureau.[54][53] The way that Comey had first learned that he had been fired—from television news reports, while he was in Los Angeles—also angered agents, who considered it a sign of disrespect from the White House.[53]

Messaging from the White House

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Trump tweet “not a threat”, Spicer says. Video from Voice of America.

News reports indicated that President Trump continued to be surprised and frustrated by the reactions to Comey’s termination, both from the political leadership and from the media.[117][118] Administration officials struggled with messaging and media reports indicated frustration among the officials in trying to keep up with the President’s thinking. Vice President Mike Pence was reportedly rattled by the changing messaging as he attempted to support the President.[119] According to media sources, morale within the White House plummeted in the days immediately following and the President isolated himself not only from the media but from his own staff.[119] Interaction between the Press Secretary’s office and the President was strained. Following the termination announcement, Sanders took over press briefings from Press Secretary Sean Spicer, because Spicer had duties with the Navy Reserve.[120] Spicer eventually resumed the briefings.

On June 9, in response to Comey’s testimony the day before, Trump’s lawyer threatened to file legal complaints against Comey for sharing his memo with Richman and the press. Kasowitz said he intends to file a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Justice, as well as the Senate Judiciary Committee, against Comey for revealing “privileged” information. However, the memo was not classified and Trump had not invoked executive privilege with regard to his discussions with Comey.[121] Also, the Inspector General has limited jurisdiction since Comey no longer works for the Justice Department.[122] Some commentators suggested the threat could amount to intimidation of a witness.[121] On June 28 Bloomberg reported that Trump’s attorneys are postponing the threatened complaint, although they still intend to file it eventually. The postponement is reportedly intended as a courtesy to Special Counsel Mueller and an attempt to back away from the White House’s confrontational attitude toward him.[123]

Succession

After Comey’s dismissal, FBI Deputy Director Andrew G. McCabe became the acting FBI Director.[53] Several people were interviewed to succeed Comey.[124] On June 7, 2017, on the day before Comey was to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee,[125] President Trump tweeted that he intended to nominate Christopher A. Wray as the new FBI Director.[126] Trump made Wray’s formal nomination to the Senate on June 26.[127] The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination on July 20.[128] The full Senate confirmed the appointment on August 1,[129] and he was sworn in the next day.[130]

FBI investigation of Russian interference

Assurances to Trump by Comey

In the Comey termination letter, Trump asserted that Comey had told him on three separate occasions that he (Trump) was not under investigation.[131] The assertion was challenged.[132] Fact checkers reported that while they had no way of knowing what Comey may have told Trump privately, no such assertion was on the public record, and the White House declined to provide any more detail.[133] According to a May 10 article in The Washington Post, sources knowledgeable about the matter stated that Trump’s assertion as well as other assertions made by Trump about events leading up to the dismissal were false.[11][134]

However, in the written opening statement for his June 8 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Comey said he had assured Trump on three separate occasions that he personally was not the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation.[135] Comey said Trump repeatedly pressed for him to say so publicly.[135] Comey added that Trump’s private comments urging him to drop the Flynn probe led him to tell his Justice Department colleagues they needed to be careful.[136] Comey also indicated that he had prepared notes on each of his interactions with Trump and had arranged for them to be publicly released.[136]

Trump’s private lawyer Marc Kasowitz declared in a statement that Comey’s testimony made Trump feel “completely and totally vindicated”.[137][138] However, on June 16 following newspaper reports that the special counsel is investigating him for obstruction of justice, Trump tweeted: “I am being investigated” and called the investigations a “witch hunt”.[139] Trump’s lawyer later clarified that Trump has not been notified of any investigation.[140]

Possible existence of recordings

In a Twitter post on May 12, Trump implied that he might have recorded his conversations with Comey, saying, “James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”[141] The comment was taken by many Democrats and commentators as a threat, an attempt to intimidate Comey into not discussing his conversations with Trump during intelligence committee hearings.[142][143][144][145] Trump’s hint about secret tapes created pressure on him to make any tapes and other evidence available to investigators.[141] For more than a month thereafter, in interviews and White House briefings, Trump and his spokespersons refused to confirm or deny the existence of ‘tapes’, or to comment on whether there are listening or recording devices in the White House.[141][146]

In his June 8 testimony, Comey said “I’ve seen the tweet about tapes. Lordy, I hope there are tapes!” He added that he would consent to the release of any such recordings.[147]

On June 9, members of Congress from both parties called on Trump to say once and for all whether any ‘tapes’ exist.[148] The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), called for the White House to hand over any tapes, if they exist, to the committee, and threatened subpoenas if the White House did not comply with the deadline by June 23.

On June 22, Trump tweeted “I have no idea […] whether there are “tapes” or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”[149] Commentators noted that Trump’s tweet was a non-denial denial which merely denied personal involvement in the making of recordings and denied his present knowledge and present possession of said recordings. The tweet failed to deny that recordings do or did exist, that Trump ever had past knowledge of their existence, or that they may have been made by a third party other than Trump whom Trump is or was aware of.[150] When asked to clarify Trump’s tweet several hours later, Principal Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that Trump’s tweet was “extremely clear” and that she did “not have anything to add”.[151]

Schiff stated that Trump’s tweet “raises as many questions as it answers” and that “the White House must respond in writing to our committee as to whether any tapes or recordings exist.”[150] The White House responded on June 23 with a letter to House and Senate Committees which copied and pasted Trump’s non-denial denial tweet of the previous day.[152] On June 29, in a joint statement, the two leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said they had written to the White House to press it to comply fully with their June 9 request, adding “should the White House not respond fully, the committee will consider using compulsory process to ensure a satisfactory response”.[153]

Comey memos

On May 16, 2017, it was first reported that Comey had prepared a detailed memo following every meeting and telephone call he had with President Trump.[154][18][155]

February 14 meeting

One memo referred to an Oval Office meeting on February 14, 2017, during which Comey says Trump attempted to persuade him to abort the investigation into Michael Flynn.[154][18][156] The meeting had begun as a broader national security briefing, the day after Trump had dismissed Flynn as National Security Advisor. Near the conclusion of the briefing, the President asked those in attendance other than Director Comey to leave the room—including Vice President Pence and Attorney General Sessions. He then reportedly said to Comey “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”[18] Comey made no commitments to Trump on the subject.[18]

The White House responded to the allegations by stating that “the president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn,” and “this is not a truthful or accurate portrayal of the conversation between the president and Mr. Comey.”[154]

Leaks to the press

The Comey memos were first mentioned in a May 16, 2017, New York Times article, published about a week after Trump had dismissed Comey as FBI director, and four days after he had implied on Twitter that his conversations with Comey may have been recorded.[141]The report cited two people who read the memos to the Times reporter.[18] The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post independently reported on the memos’ existence.[154][157]

In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, Comey revealed that he had been the source, through a friend (later revealed to be Columbia Law School professor Daniel Richman), of the public revelation of his February 14 memo. He said he decided to make it public in hopes that it might “prompt the appointment of a special counsel”. Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel the next day.[16]

On May 19, another friend of Comey, Lawfare Blog founder Benjamin Wittes, came forward as the principal source for the initial New York Times story.[158]

Congressional requests

Rep. Jason Chaffetz‘s letter to FBI demanding to produce all Comey memos

After the NYT report, leaders of the House Oversight Committee and Intelligence Committee, as well as those of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Judiciary Committee, requested the production of all Comey memos, with a deadline of May 24. On May 25, the FBI said it was still reviewing the Committees’ requests, in view of the appointment of the special counsel.[159] To date,[when?] the Comey memos have still not been produced or released to the public.

Motivation

The New York Times reported that Comey had created the memos as a “paper trail” to document “what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation”.[18] Comey shared the memo with “a very small circle of people at the FBI and Justice Department.”[157] Comey and other senior FBI officials perceived Trump’s remarks “as an effort to influence the investigation, but they decided that they would try to keep the conversation secret—even from the F.B.I. agents working on the Russia investigation—so the details of the conversation would not affect the investigation.”[18]

In his June 8 testimony, Comey explained that he had documented his conversations with Trump because he “was honestly concerned he (Trump) might lie” about them. “I knew there might come a day when I might need a record of what happened,” he said.[56] The Washington Post reported that two Comey associates who had seen the memo described it as two pages long and highly detailed.[157] The Times noted that contemporaneous notes created by FBI agents are frequently relied upon “in court as credible evidence of conversations.”[18]

Legal considerations

Several Republican politicians and conservative journalists asserted that Comey could be subject to legal jeopardy for not disclosing the contents of his memos around the time he wrote them. Several legal experts, including Alan Dershowitz and Robert M. Chesney, contested this view.[160]

Anonymous officials told The Hill that 4 of the 7 memos contained information deemed “secret” or “classified”.[161][162] Comey testified that he deliberately wrote some memos without classified information so that they could be shared.[163]

Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz criticized Comey for leaking the contents of his memos to the press, saying that they were “unauthorized disclosures”.[164] White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also criticized Comey for leaking to the press and alleged that he broke the law. Sanders cited an article by the legal analyst Jonathan Turley which alleged that Comey broke his employment agreement and FBI protocol.[165]

Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post analyzed Turley’s arguments and contested Sanders’ claims that Comey’s actions were “illegal”.[165] Turley himself has contested Kessler’s legal analysis of Comey’s actions.[166] University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladecksaid that there would “no legal blowback” for Comey, unless “the memos involve ‘information relating to the national defense'” or deprived “government of a ‘thing of value'”.[167] Bradley P. Moss, a partner in the law office of Mark Zaid, argued that Comey’s actions were legally justified by laws protecting whistleblowers from unjust persecution.[168]

Pursuit of leakers

According to a Washington Post report, the memos also document Trump’s criticism of the FBI for not pursuing leakers in the administration and his wish “to see reporters in jail”.[157] The report outraged journalists and free-speech groups, who likened the statement to intimidation tactics used by authoritarian regimes. The Committee to Protect Journalists and Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron were among those who criticized the statement.[169]

Appointment of special counsel

Appointment of Special Counsel to Investigate Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election and Related Matters

Immediately after Comey’s dismissal, many Democrats renewed their calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor to continue the investigation into Russia’s influence on the election. Democratic attorneys general from 19 states and D.C. signed a letter calling for a special prosecutor.[170]

The White House continued to insist that no special prosecutor was necessary in the Russia investigation, instead saying that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and the next FBI director could lead the investigation.[171] The White House has also said that it was “time to move on” after the 2016 election.[108] President Trump tweeted that Democratic members of Congress calling for a special prosecutor and criticizing the dismissal of Comey are “phony hypocrites!”[172]

On May 17, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as acting Attorney General, appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation.[23][173] The Trump administration cited an obscure ethics rule to suggest that Mueller might have a conflict of interest.[174] On May 23, 2017, Department of Justice ethics experts announced they had declared Mueller ethically able to function as special counsel.[175]

On June 3, Rosenstein said he would recuse himself from supervision of Mueller, if he were to become a subject in the investigation due to his role in Comey’s dismissal.[176] In that event, the third senior officer in the Justice Department would take over the supervision of Mueller’s investigation—namely, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.[177]

Reactions from Congress

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‘Trump’s Firing of Comey Sets Off Political Firestorm’ – video from Voice of America

Several Democratic members of Congress – among them, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, and California Rep. Maxine Waters – and some commentators suggested that Trump’s rationale for Comey’s dismissal in the interview amounted to a de facto admission to obstruction of justice.[178][179][180][181][182] Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democratic member said it was “extremely important that Comey come to an open hearing in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence as quickly as possible and testify as to the status of the U.S.–Russia investigation at the time of his firing”.[87]

Among members of Congress:

  • 138 Democrats, two independents (Senators Bernie Sanders and Angus King), and two Republicans (Representatives Mike Coffman[183] and Tom McClintock), called for a special prosecutor, independent prosecutor, or an independent commission to examine ties between the Russian government and Trump’s associates.[115]
  • 84 Democrats and five Republicans called for an independent investigation into Russian ties. For example, Republican Senator John McCain said “I have long called for a special congressional committee” while Democratic Representative Salud Carbajal stated, “anything less would imperil our democracy”.[115]
  • 42 Republicans, and 8 Democrats, expressed “questions or concerns” about Comey’s firing; examples of members of Congress in this group are Republican Senator Marco Rubio (“I do have questions”); Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski (“serious cause for concern”); Democratic Representative Marcia L. Fudge (“the American people deserve answers”).[115]
  • 98 Republicans, but no Democrats, were neutral or supportive of Comey’s firing.[115]
  • 141 Republicans and 11 Democrats did not release a statement.[115]

Multiple Democratic members of Congress discussed an “impeachment clock” for Trump, saying that he was “moving” toward impeachment and raising the possibility of bringing forth articles of impeachment for obstruction of justice and criminal malfeasance if proof of illegal activity is found.[184][185] Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut stated in an interview: “It may well produce another United States v. Nixon on a subpoena that went to United States Supreme Court. It may well produce impeachment proceedings, although we’re very far from that possibility.”[186]

Congressional testimony by Comey

On May 10, 2017, the day after being fired by Trump, Comey was invited to testify before a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 16, 2017.[187][188][189] Comey declined to testify at a closed session, indicating that he would be willing to testify at a public, open hearing.[190][191] On May 17, the Senate Intelligence Committee invited Comey to testify publicly.[192] Comey accepted the invitation and testified on June 8.[193][194]

On June 7, 2017 an advance copy of Comey’s prepared congressional testimony was submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee.[195] In it, he said that on February 14, 2017, the President attempted to persuade him to “let go” of any investigation into Michael Flynn.[17] He clarified that “I had understood the President to be requesting that we drop any investigation of Flynn in connection with false statements about his conversations with the Russian ambassador in December. I did not understand the President to be talking about the broader investigation into Russia or possible links to his campaign.”[196] He added that Trump requested his personal loyalty, to which Comey replied he would give his “honest loyalty” to the President.[196]

Comey stated that, on three occasions, he volunteered to Trump that the latter was not personally under investigation.[196][15] Comey stated that Trump requested that he publicly declare this so that his image could be improved, but Comey also stated that he did not respond to Trump’s request with an explanation of why he would not do so; Comey testified that his primary reason for not publicly saying Trump was not under investigation was to avoid a “duty to correct” in the event Trump later became subject to investigation.[197][198]In the termination letter of May 9, 2017 Trump said “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation….”[131]

In his live testimony, Comey was asked why he thought he was fired and he replied, “I take the president at his word that I was fired because of the Russia investigation.”[199] He took strong exception to Trump’s claims that he had fired Comey because the FBI was in “disarray” and “poorly led”, saying “Those were lies, plain and simple.”[200] Comey also confirmed that the FBI investigations had not targeted Trump personally.[201]

In June 9 and June 11 Twitter comments on Comey’s testimony, Trump accused Comey of “so many false statements and lies” and “very cowardly” leaks but added that Comey’s testimony had amounted to “total and complete vindication” of Trump. Later that day Trump held a brief news conference, during which he insisted that he did not ask Comey to end the investigation into Flynn and was willing to say so under oath. He twice dodged questions about whether there are tapes of White House conversations.[202][203]

Commentary

Scholars

A number of professors of law, political science, and history have criticized the firing and argue that Trump’s action destabilizes democratic norms and the rule of law in the U.S.[111][112][113][114][204][205][206][207] Some have argued that Trump’s action creates a constitutional crisis.[112] Parallels have been drawn with other leaders who have slowly eroded democratic norms in their countries, such as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan or Hungary’s Viktor Orbán; political science professor Sheri Berman said those leaders slowly “chipped away at democratic institutions, undermined civil society, and slowly increased their own power.”[114]

In a May 2017 essay published in The Washington PostHarvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe wrote: “The time has come for Congress to launch an impeachment investigation of President Trump for obstruction of justice.” Tribe argued that Trump’s conduct rose to the level of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that are impeachable offenses under the Constitution.[208][209] He added, “It will require serious commitment to constitutional principle, and courageous willingness to put devotion to the national interest above self-interest and party loyalty, for a Congress of the president’s own party to initiate an impeachment inquiry.”[208]

Duke law professor and former federal prosecutor Samuel W. Buell said that Trump’s attempt to quiet Comey by referencing secret tapes of their conversations in retaliation could be viewed as an effort to intimidate a witness to any future investigation on obstruction of justice.[191]

GW Law professor Jonathan Turley, who participated in impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton, cautioned that the Comey memo is not a sufficient basis for impeachment, and raises as many questions about Comey’s behavior as about Trump’s.[210][211]

Harvard Law professor Jack Goldsmith says that claims of “grandstanding” or “politicization” by Comey of the FBI probe into possible ties between Trump associates and Russia were unsubstantiated. Goldsmith wrote, “the only thing Comey ever said publicly about the investigation into the Russia-DNC Hack-Trump Associates imbroglio was to confirm, with the approval of the Attorney General, its existence.”[212][non-primary source needed]

New York University law professor Ryan Goodman wrote, “if President Donald Trump orchestrated the decision to fire the Director of the FBI to subvert or undermine the integrity of investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible coordination with Russia, it may amount to an obstruction of justice.”[213][214]

A report published by the Brookings Institution in October 2017 raised the question of obstruction of justice in the dismissal of Comey, stating that Trump, by himself or conspiring with subordinates, may have “attempted to impede the investigations of Michael Flynn and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election”.[215] The report put aside the subject of impeachment pending the outcome of the 2017 Special Counsel investigation by Robert Mueller.[216][217][218]

Comey memos and obstruction of justice

Legal experts are divided as to whether Trump’s alleged request that Comey end the investigation can be considered obstruction of justice.[219] Jens David Ohlin of Cornell University Law School and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University have argued that the request does not neatly fit into any of the practices commonly considered to fall under the obstruction of justice statute.[220] Michael Gerhardt of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Julie O’Sullivan of the Georgetown University Law Center argued that it is hard to prove that Trump had an intent to obstruct the investigation.[221] Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said that “it’s a very, very high bar to get over obstruction of justice for a president.”[222] Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith noted that it was implausible to indict a sitting president, noting that “the remedy for a criminal violation would be impeachment” instead.[223] Erwin Chereminsky of University of California, Irvine School of Law, have argued that it was obstruction of justice.[224]

Noah Feldman of Harvard University noted that the alleged request could be grounds for impeachment.[225] University of Texas law professor Stephen Vladeck said that it was reasonable for people to “start talking about obstruction”.[223] Harvard law professor Alex Whiting said that Trump’s actions were “very close to obstruction of justice … but still isn’t conclusive”.[226] Christopher Slobogin of Vanderbilt University Law School said that a “viable case” could be made but that it was weak.[224] John Dean, former White House Counsel to Richard Nixon, called the memo about the private conversation with President Trump concerning the Flynn investigation a “smoking gun” and noted that “good intentions do not erase criminal intent”.[227]

Comey testimony and obstruction of justice

In Comey’s June 8 testimony, he said it was not for him to say whether Trump’s February 14 request amounted to obstruction of justice, adding “But that’s a conclusion I’m sure the special counsel will work toward, to try and understand what the intention was there and whether that’s an offense.”[228] Some legal experts have said that Comey’s testimony advanced the argument that Trump attempted to obstruct justice in his dealings with then-FBI Director James Comey.[229] Diane Marie Amann of University of Georgia, Paul Butler of Georgetown University, Brandon Garrett of University of Virginia, Lisa Kern Griffin of Duke University, Alexander Tsesis of Loyola University, and Alex Whiting of Harvard University said that an obstruction of justice case was advanced by the fact that Comey understood Trump’s words as an order to drop an ongoing FBI investigation.[229][230][231] Joshua Dressle of Ohio State University and Jimmy Gurulé of University of Notre Dame said after the testimony that “a prima facie case of obstruction of justice” had been established.[229]Samuel Gross of University of Michigan and Dressle said that there were sufficient grounds to indict Trump for obstruction of justice were he not President, but that a sitting President cannot be indicted, only impeached.[229] Samuel Buell of Duke University said, “Based on Comey’s testimony, we know to a virtual certainty that the President is now under investigation for obstruction of justice.”[231] Mark Tushnet of Harvard University said that there are “lots of pieces of evidence that could go into making a criminal case and very little to weaken such a case but nothing that in itself shows criminal intent.”[229]

Former United States Attorney Preet Bharara said in an interview with ABC News om June 11, 2017, “there’s absolutely evidence to begin a case” regarding obstruction of justice by Trump.[232] Bharara went on to note, “No one knows right now whether there is a provable case of obstruction. [But] there’s no basis to say there’s no obstruction.”[232]

Media

Many media outlets continued to be highly critical of the move. For many critics, the immediate worry was the integrity of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia.[233] Some commentators described Comey’s firing by the Trump administration as a “Nixonian” act, comparing it to Richard Nixon’s orders to three of his cabinet officials to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate investigation. A number of commentators – including Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, former CBS Newsjournalist Dan Rather, and former New Yorker editor Jeffrey Frank – accused the Trump administration of a cover-up by firing Comey with the intent to curtail the FBI’s investigation out of fear of a possible discovery of the extent of Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.[234][235][236] Soon after Trump’s election, Benjamin Wittes writing in Lawfare had predicted a future firing of Comey, writing “If Trump chooses to replace Comey with a sycophantic yes-man, or if he permits Comey to resign over law or principle, that will be a clear bellwether to both the national security and civil libertarian communities that things are going terribly wrong.”[237] Immediately after the dismissal, they reiterated their position, stating that Trump’s firing of Comey “undermines the credibility of his own presidency” and implying that the reason given for it was probably a pretext, as Trump had previously praised Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation.[48]

Some commentators observed an emerging pattern of Trump firing government officials involved in investigating his interests: Sally YatesPreet Bharara, and Comey.[238][239]

Other media outlets were more supportive. Some sources have stated that, regardless of circumstances, Comey had lost the confidence of the political leadership on all sides of the spectrum and, therefore, his termination was unavoidable in spite of criticizing the president’s handling of it and questioning his motives.[240] Some went so far as to decry Democrats and other Trump opponents who criticized the termination after previously having criticized Comey himself for the handling of the Clinton scandal.[241] A few called for a re-opening of the Clinton investigation now that Comey had left.[242]

French daily Le Monde described the firing as a “coup de force” against the FBI.[114] German magazines Der Spiegel and Bild drew parallels with Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre, with Der Spiegel saying that “few believe” that Comey was not fired for overseeing a criminal probe into possible ties between Trump associates and Russia.[114][243] The Economist wrote in an editorial that Comey’s firing “reflects terribly” on Trump and urged “principled Senate Republicans” to put country before party and establish “either an independent commission” similar to the 9/11 Commission, or a bipartisan select committee to investigate the Russia allegations, with either body to have “substantial investigatory resources” and subpoena power.[244]

References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Comey

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The Pronk Pops Show 1060,April 12, 2018, Story 1: Clueless Congress Questions Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg Who Does An Imitation of Brenda Lee I’m Sorry and The End of The World — Privacy Is Dead — Stop Your Addiction — Quit Social Media and Big Lie Media and Select Better Sources of Entertainment — Be Addiction Free and Happy — Congress Sings Special Angel and Be My Baby To Zuckerberg — NSA: Secret Surveillance State — Every Step You Make –Videos

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