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

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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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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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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Syria air strikes: Latest updates- BBC News

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President Donald Trump Bombs Syria. Again.

Syrian MOAB: The Mother of All Bullsh*t — Here We Go Again, Sparky! Just When You Thought We Learnt

My Response to the Syria Strikes: Unhelpful, but Part of a Larger Situation

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Tucker: Why is Washington united behind a war in Syria?

Tucker Carlson Goes on Epic Rant Against War in Syria

Act of War: The Real Reason Syria was Attacked

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

File:FBI Acting Chief Contradicts Trump on Comey.webmhd.webm

‘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

File:WATCH Trump Tweet Not A Threat Spicer Says.webmhd.webm

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

File:Trump's Firing of Comey Sets Off Political Firestorm.webm

‘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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Image result for cartoons on nsa and facebook spying on american people

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The Police – Every Breath You Take

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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 To Zuckerberg — Videos

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Brenda Lee – I’m Sorry

I’m sorry, so sorry
That I was such a fool
I didn’t know
Love could be so cruel
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yesYou tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don’t right
The wrong that’s been done(I’m sorry) I’m sorry
(So sorry) So sorry
Please accept my apology
But love is blind
And I was too blind to see

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yes

You tell me mistakes
Are part of being young
But that don’t right
The wrong that’s been done
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-yes

I’m sorry, so sorry
Please accept my apology
But love was blind
And I was too blind to see

(Sorry)

Music by:

Ronnie Self
Lyrics by:

Dub Allbritten

Brenda Lee – The end of the world(1963)

Brenda Lee – End Of The World Lyrics

Why does the sun go on shining
Why does the sea rush to shore
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
’cause You don’t love me anymore, YesWhy do the birds go on singing
Why do the stars glow above
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
It ended when I lost your loveI wake up in the mornin’ and I wonder
Why everythings the same as it was
I can’t understand, No
I can’t understand
How life goes on the way it doesWhy does my heart go on beating
Why do these eyes of mine cry
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye(spoken)
Why does my heart go on beating
Why do these eyes of mine cry
(sung)
Don’t they know it’s the end of the world
It ended when you said goodbye
Goodbye
Songwriters: PETER MCNULTY-CONNOLLY, MARCUS MYBE, LOUIE ST. LOUIS, KURTIS DESHAUN WILLIAMS, MICHAEL ANGELO
End Of The World lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Sen Kennedy destroys Mark Zuckerberg

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Bobby Helms – You Are My Special Angel – ( Alta Calidad ) HD

My Special Angel
You are my special angel
Sent from up above
The Lord smiled down on me
And sent an angel to love (to love)
You are my special angel
Right from paradise
I know you’re an angel
Heaven is in your eyes
The smile from your lips brings the summer sunshine
Tears from your eyes bring the rain
I feel your touch, your warm embrace
And I’m in heaven again
You are my special angel
Through eternity
I’ll have my special angel
Here to watch over me
I feel your touch, your warm embrace
And I’m in heaven again
You are my special angel
Through eternity
I’ll have my special angel
Here to watch over me (watch over me)
Here to watch over me
(Angel, angel, whoa-oh-oh-oh, oh, oh oh, oh)
Songwriters: Jimmy (usa Duncan / Jimmy (usa 2 Duncan
My Special Angel lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

The Ronettes – Be My Baby – 16:9 – ( Alta Calidad ) HD

Be My Baby
The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I’d never let you go
So won’t you say you love me
I’ll make you so proud of me
We’ll make ’em turn their heads every place we go
So won’t you, please, be my, be my baby
Be my little baby, my one and only baby
Say you’ll be my darlin’, be my, be my baby
Be my baby now, my one and only baby
Wha oh oh oh
I’ll make you happy, baby, just wait and see
For every kiss you give me I’ll give you three
Oh, since the day I saw you
I have been waiting for you
You know I will adore you ’til eternity
So won’t you, please, be my, be my baby
Be my little baby, my one and only baby
Say you’ll be my darlin’, be my, be my baby
Be my baby now, my one and only baby
Wha oh oh oh oh
So come on and, please, be my, be my baby
Be my little baby, my one and only baby
Say you’ll be my darlin’, be my, be my baby
Be my baby now, my one and only baby
Wha oh oh oh
Be my, be my baby, be my little baby
My one and only baby, oh oh
Be my, be my baby, oh
My one and only baby, wha oh oh oh oh
Be my, be my baby, oh
My one and only baby, oh
Be my, be my baby, oh
Be my baby now
Songwriters: Ellie Greenwich / Jeff Barry / Philip Spector
Be My Baby lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management US, LLC

Zuckerberg Faces Tough Questions From the House

Members of the Energy and Commerce Committee pressed Facebook’s chief executive on data privacy, security and political bias on the social media platform.

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Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder and chief executive of Facebook, faced a much tougher crowd on the House side of Capitol Hill in his second day of congressional testimony.

Over the two days, there were nearly 10 hours of hearings, during which almost 100 lawmakers grilled Mr. Zuckerberg.

While Tuesday’s Senate hearing contained tough questions, the lawmakers were generally deferential to the executive. That was less the case in the House, where lawmakers repeatedly interrupted Mr. Zuckerberg and chided him for not answering questions to their satisfaction.

Lawmakers on both side of the aisle on Wednesday pushed Mr. Zuckerberg on his company’s handling of user data. They were particularly focused on the platform’s privacy settings, which put the onus on users to protect their privacy. He was also asked about:

• Whether the social network should be regulated.

• What Russians did on Facebook during the 2016 election.

• Whether the social network had a liberal bias.

• What Facebook ultimately is as it has grown into a global behemoth.

READ MORE:

• Mr. Zuckerberg was the only technology chief in the room on Tuesday, but he was often treated as a stand-in for the whole industry.

• The public scolding on Capitol Hill may do little to change how Facebook powers its $40.6 billion business: meticulously monitoring what you do online. Here’s how they do it.

• Mr. Zuckerberg wore a suit and tie to testify before Congress instead of his usual gray T-shirt. One might say it was his “I’m Sorry” suit.

• The hearings were prompted by a scandal over data harvesting by a third-party organization. Fallout from the scandal has dealt a blow to the political clout of the Mercers, the conservative donors behind organization.

Regulating the use of private data

Representative Greg Walden, Republican of Oregon and chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, kicked off the hearing by declaring that “while Facebook has certainly grown, I worry it has not matured.”

Mr. Walden floated the prospect of regulation, saying that “I think it is time to ask whether Facebook may have moved too fast and broken too many things.”

Later in the hearing, Mr. Zuckerberg said regulation was “inevitable.” But he repeated that the right kind of regulation mattered and he pointed out that some regulation could only solidify the power of a large company like Facebook, which could hurt start-ups.

GRAPHIC

How Facebook Lets Brands and Politicians Target You

A history of the steps the company took to become an advertising giant.

 OPEN GRAPHIC

On Tuesday, several senators sounded a similar tune, saying Facebook couldn’t be trusted with the vast amounts of data being collected, much of which was being done without users’ full understanding. Three senators introduced privacy legislation that would require users’ permission to collect and share their data.

On Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg was asked to agree to privacy legislation that requires permission for data collection. Mr. Zuckerberg demurred and did not express support for any specific legislative proposal.

Representative Frank Pallone Jr., a New Jersey Democrat, pressed Mr. Zuckerberg on whether Facebook would agree or refuse to change Facebook’s default settings to minimize collection and use of users’ data.

“This is a complex issue that deserves more than a one word answer,” Mr. Zuckerberg answered.

“That’s disappointing to me,” Mr. Pallone responded.

The concern was echoed by Representative Bobby L. Rush, a Democrat of Illinois, who pointed a finger at Mr. Zuckerberg and asked: “Why is the onus on the user to opt in to privacy and security settings?”

But Mr. Zuckerberg also did not dismiss a proposal from Representative Raul Ruiz, a Democrat from California, to create a digital consumer protection agency that would subject Facebook and its peers to some degree of government involvement.

Mr. Zuckerberg called the idea one “that deserves a lot of consideration” but said that the “details on this really matter.”

 

Video

Zuckerberg’s Testimony, Explained

Senator John Kennedy told Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, that his company’s user agreement “sucks.” Our reporter Sheera Frenkel explains the senator’s questions, Mr. Zuckerberg’s answers and what they really mean.

By SHEERA FRENKEL and GRANT GOLD on Publish DateApril 11, 2018. Photo by Tom Brenner/The New York Times. Watch in Times Video »

Could Europe’s privacy laws serve as a model?

Last week, Mr. Zuckerberg made a promise. He said that Facebook planned to give users worldwide the same privacy controls required by a tough new data protection law which will go into effect in the European Union next month.

This morning, Representatives Gene Green, a Texas Democrat, and Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, pressed him repeatedly on the issue. And Mr. Zuckerberg repeated his commitment to give all users those controls.

But European regulators and privacy advocates said over the last week that a number of Facebook’s current practices seemed violate the new law, called the General Data Protection Regulation.

For one thing, the European law requires privacy by design and default. European experts said that, in their view, that would require Facebook turn off a number of advertising and privacy settings which are currently set to sharing and instead ask user permission to turn them on.

Mr. Zuckerberg answered the legislators’ questions by saying that the company plans to put a tool “at the top of everyone’s app” where users will be able to make privacy and sharing choices. But the company may not offer affirmative consent — asking users to explicitly opt-in — in every country, depending on legal issues, he said.

Facebook currently allows users to download a copy of their personal data like their messages, likes and posts.

But Mr. Green wanted to know if Facebook would comply with the European law — and extend those protections to users worldwide — by providing individuals with the complete records and profiles the Facebook has compiled on them. That would include any data the company collected about its users by tracking them on other websites, and any data the company bought or acquired from third parties about users, and any categorizations or algorithmic scores Facebook created about users, regulators said.

Mr. Zuckerberg said he believed all of the data is available.

That isn’t true for the moment — at least for a couple of reporters who recently downloaded their Facebook data. But Facebook has about six weeks to figure out how to give users a copy of their algorithmic scores, web tracking data and other records the social network has compiled before the law goes into effect in Europe.

The uses of facial recognition technology

Facial recognition — a technology that scans your face and converts into a mathematical code that can be used to identify you in any other facial photo or video still — is a hot-button topic on both sides of the Atlantic. That is because it involves measuring and collecting data about people’s unique physical attributes.

Facebook uses the technology in a name-tagging feature that can automatically suggest the names of people in users’ photographs. But regulators in Europe have cracked down on Facebook for rolling it out without users’ explicit opt-in consent. And privacy groups in the United States filed a complaint last week to the Federal Trade Commission saying Facebook’s recent expanded use of the technology violated a settlement the company made with the agency in 2011.

When legislators asked him about the tough new European privacy rules today, Mr. Zuckerberg said he was generally concerned that some constraints could restrict companies based in the United States from innovating with technologies like facial recognition — allowing China to take the lead in developing the technology.

Even so, Mr. Zuckerberg said, technologies like face recognition should require permission from users.

For sensitive technologies, he said, “I do think you want a special consent.”

Is Facebook a monopoly?

Mr. Zuckerberg pushed back against suggestions that Facebook is essentially a monopoly, “without any true competitor,” as put by Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan.

Reiterating a point made Tuesday before the Senate, Mr. Zuckerberg said that there is a “lot of competition” that Facebook managers “definitely feel in running the company.” He mentioned, but did not name, eight apps that users rely on to communicate.

He left out that, according to comScore, Facebook owns three of the top ten mobile apps used in the United States: Facebook, Facebook Messenger and Instagram.

Of the remaining seven, Google owns five (YouTube, Google Search, Google Maps, Google Play and Gmail). Only Snapchat and Pandora are independent.

Cambridge Analytica and Russia’s election interference

Lawmakers pressed Mr. Zuckerberg on why Facebook didn’t inform users about the harvesting of user data by Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm with ties to the Trump campaign, in 2015, when it was informed of the data abuse.

Mr. Pallone, the New Jersey Democrat, chided Mr. Zuckerberg for his company’s naïveté in not realizing how Facebook data could be utilized.

“For all the good it brings, Facebook can be a weapon for those, like Russia and Cambridge Analytica, that seek to harm us and hack our democracy,” he said.

Several lawmakers have pointed out to Mr. Zuckerberg, repeatedly, that the Obama campaign used a Facebook app to also scrape data from users and their friends in 2012.

But those lawmakers have failed to mention one very important distinction between the Obama campaign’s app and Cambridge Analytica’s app: The Obama app was actually on Facebook itself, and it was very clear about who and what the data would be used for.

The app used to scrape data for Cambridge Analytica was accessed through a personality questionnaire hosted on a site outside of Facebook, and it appeared to users to be for academic research, not for a political data company owned by a wealthy Republican donor and dedicated to reshaping the American electorate.

Asked whether Facebook will sue the researcher who created the app, Aleksandr Kogan, or Cambridge Analytica, Mr. Zuckerberg said “it’s something we’re looking into.”

Partisan bias and Facebook’s responsibility as a publisher

Representative Joe Barton, Republican of Texas, zeroed in on a line of questioning that his Texas counterpart in the Senate, Ted Cruz, also asked, pressing Mr. Zuckerberg on why Facebook has been allegedly censoring content from conservative organizations and Trump supporters such as Diamond and Silk.

Mr. Barton also asked Mr. Zuckerberg if he would agree that Facebook would work to ensure it is “a neutral public platform,” a question also asked by Mr. Cruz.

“I do agree that we should give people a voice,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

Republican lawmakers returned several times to the issue of bias on Facebook.

Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana questioned whether Facebook’s newsfeed algorithms tamp down conservative news in favor of more left-leaning outlets, to which Mr. Zuckerberg responded that “there is absolutely no directive” to have “any kind of bias in anything we do.”

The proliferation of so-called fake news has put Mr. Zuckerberg in an awkward spot, as the company promises to do a better job of weeding out propaganda and falsehoods but insists it cannot police free speech.

Out in the hall during a break in the hearing, Representative Billy Long, a Republican from Missouri, also expressed frustration about Facebook’s treatment of Diamond and Silk, two pro-Trump video personalities who have complained about being censored by the platform.

“It seems like they take down a lot more conservative content than they do liberal,” he said.

Mr. Long said that he needed more answers about the Diamond and Silk situation, and that he hoped Mr. Zuckerberg could ensure that the company’s thousands of moderators weren’t biased against conservatives.

“He better hope he does it, not us,” Mr. Long added. “Or Congress is going to get involved, and regulate a private industry.”

What kind of company is Facebook?

Mr. Walden of Oregon foreshadowed a line of questioning for Mr. Zuckerberg on how Facebook works and if the social media site has become a publisher or utility service that deserves regulation.

“What exactly is Facebook?” Mr. Walden asked, listing industries like advertising, publishing and even telecom, or “common carrier in the information age.”

The definitions matter. If Facebook is viewed as a telecommunications service that is more like a utility, it may be regulated by the Federal Communications Commission. If lawmakers define Facebook as a publisher, it could also fall under regulations at that agency.

“I consider us to be a technology company,” Mr. Zuckerberg answered. “The primary thing we do is have engineers that write code and build services for other people.”

Facebook, he said, is not a software company, despite creating software. It is not an aerospace company, even though it builds planes. It is not a financial institution, although it offers payment tools for users.

“Do we have a responsibility for the content people share on Facebook? I think the answer to that question is yes,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/us/politics/zuckerberg-facebook-cambridge-analytica.html

What You Don’t Know About How Facebook Uses Your Data

Facebook’s ads manager console allows marketers to target ads to specific audiences — such as the nearly 22 million Facebook users “who prefer mid and high-value goods in Mexico.”

While a series of actions by European judges and regulators are trying to curb some of the powerful targeting mechanisms that Facebook employs, federal officials in the United States have done little to constrain them — to the consternation of American privacy advocates who say Facebook continues to test the boundaries of what is permissible.

Facebook requires outside sites that use its tracking technologies to clearly notify users, and it allows Facebook users to opt out of seeing ads based on their use of those apps and websites.

That has not stopped angry users from airing their grievances over Facebook’s practices.

In 2016, for example, a Missouri man with metastatic cancer sued Facebook. The suit, which sought class-action status, accused the tech giant of violating the man’s privacy by tracking his activities on cancer center websites outside the social network — and collecting details about his possible treatment options — without his permission.

Facebook persuaded a federal judge to dismiss the case. The company argued that tracking users for ad-targeting purposes was a standard business practice, and one that its users agreed to when signing up for the service. The Missouri man and two other plaintiffs have appealed the judge’s decision.

Facebook is quick to note that when users sign up for an account, they must agree to the company’s data policy. It plainly states that its data collection “includes information about the websites and apps you visit, your use of our services on those websites and apps, as well as information the developer or publisher of the app or website provides to you or us.”

But in Europe, some regulators contend that Facebook has not obtained users’ explicit and informed consent to track them on other sites and apps. Their general concern, they said, is that many of Facebook’s 2.1 billion users have no idea how much data Facebook could collect about them and how the company could use it. And there is a growing unease that tech giants are unfairly manipulating users.

Photo

The console also allows marketers to target ads to an audience with a specific financial status, such as the 4.7 million Facebook users in households “likely to have a net worth” of $750,000 to $1 million.

“Facebook provides a network where the users, while getting free services most of them consider useful, are subject to a multitude of nontransparent analyses, profiling, and other mostly obscure algorithmical processing,” said Johannes Caspar, the data protection commissioner for Hamburg, Germany.

In 2015, for instance, the Belgian Privacy Commission ordered Facebook to stop systematically using “long-term and uniquely identifying” codes to track nonusers without their “unequivocal and specific consent.” The agency subsequently sued Facebook. In February, a judge in Brussels ordered Facebook to stop tracking “each internet user on Belgian soil” on other websites.

Facebook has appealed the decision. In his comments in the House hearing on Wednesday, Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook tracked nonusers for security purposes — to ensure they could not scrape public data about Facebook users.

But, in one presentation on the case, Belgian regulators wrote: “Tracking nonusers for security purposes is excessive.”

And on Friday, the Italian Competition Authority said it was investigating Facebook for exercising “undue influence” by requiring users to let the company automatically collect all kinds of data about them both on its platform and off.

“Every single action, every single relationship is carefully monitored,” said Giovanni Buttarelli, the European data protection supervisor, who oversees an independent European Union authority that advises on privacy-related laws and policies. “People are being treated like laboratory animals.”

Photo

Employees work in Facebook’s European headquarters in Dublin. Privacy advocates are calling on lawmakers and regulators to ask tougher questions about what the company does with information about its users.CreditAidan Crawley/Bloomberg

Regulators have won some victories. In 2012, Facebook agreed to stop using face recognition technology in the European Union after Mr. Caspar, the Hamburg data protection commissioner, accused it of violating German and European privacy regulations by collecting users’ biometric facial data without their explicit consent.

Outside the European Union, Facebook employs face recognition technology for a name-tagging feature that can automatically suggest names for the people in users’ photos. But civil liberties experts warn that face recognition technology could threaten the ability of Americans to remain anonymous online, on the street and at political protests.

Now a dozen consumer and privacy groups in the United States have accused Facebook of deceptively rolling out expanded uses of the technology without clearly explaining it to users or obtaining their explicit “opt-in” consent. On Friday, the groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission saying that the expansion violated a 2011 agreement prohibiting Facebook from deceptive privacy practices.

Facebook sent notices alerting users of its new face recognition uses and said it provides a page where they can turn the feature off.

Facebook has other powerful techniques with implications users may not fully understand.

One is a marketing service called “Lookalike Audiences,” which goes beyond the familiar Facebook programs allowing advertisers to target people by their ages or likes. The look-alike audience feature allows marketers to examine their existing customers or voters for certain propensities — like big spending — and have Facebook find other users with similar tendencies.

Murka, a social casino game developer, used the feature to target “high-value players” who were “most likely to make in-app purchases,” according to Facebook marketing material.

Some marketers worry that political campaigns or unscrupulous companies could potentially use the same technique to identify the characteristics of, for instance, people who make rash decisions and find a bigger pool of the same sort of Facebook users.

Facebook’s policies prohibit potentially predatory ad-targeting practices. Advertisers are able to target users using the look-alike service, but they do not receive personal data about those Facebook users.

Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a nonprofit group in Washington, however, warned that this look-alike marketing was a hidden, manipulative practice — on a par with subliminal advertising — and said it should be prohibited.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/technology/facebook-privacy-hearings.html

 

Facebook’s Deception of Deactivated Accounts

Updated on March 26, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 

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With more people wanting to leave Facebook now in 2018, Glenn’s timely article offers a complete explanation about deleting your account.

When Facebook went public in 2012, they didn’t have as many active users as they claimed prior to the IPO.

Almost half the accounts were duplicates or fake, as well as abandoned because users couldn’t delete them. I’ll show you how to successfully remove your Facebook account.

The numerous abandoned accounts on Facebook, as well as the multiple accounts many people have, incorrectly inflated the figures that Facebook claimed to have as active users.

When Facebook filed its initial public offering on Feb 1st, 2012 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, they had to admit in the S-1 IPO filing papers that only about half of the 800 million subscribers they were claiming to have at the time were actually active daily users.

A CNBC article by Reuters references the IPO filing, where it states that Facebook only had 483 million daily active users as of December 31st, 2011.

I was counted as one of the users. But I wasn’t using it! Here’s my story. You may relate to it with your own experience. And I’ll tell you what to do about it.

When I signed up for a Facebook account and created a profile, in a very short time I started getting friend requests from people I didn’t know. This became so annoying I decided to cancel my account and delete my Facebook profile.

I have been struggling with that ever since and it became obvious to me that Facebook does not allow anyone to cancel their account and remove their data. Facebook continues to show user accounts as active members even though they are long gone and even though they have tried to cancel their accounts.

Many Facebook users have multiple accounts. Many accounts are abandoned. This changes the figures that are claimed as active users.
Many Facebook users have multiple accounts. Many accounts are abandoned. This changes the figures that are claimed as active users. Source

My Experience Trying to Delete My Facebook Account

There are two things one can do, neither of which helps.

  1. You can deactivate your account. Which still allows people to find your profile and people can still send requests to be friends. Deactivated Facebook accounts don’t really mean anything.
  2. You can request to cancel and completely remove your account data. But this is very tricky and difficult to achieve.

Here is what my experience has been with both of these cases…

At first I could not find any option to delete my profile. All I found was a way to deactivate the account. So I did that. I use Google alerts to monitor my name on the Internet and months later Google sent me an alert indicating that I was still being listed on Facebook. So I tried logging back in, only to discover a bunch of friend requests that were accumulating. That proved that people were still seeing my profile.

Logging back in had reactivated my account, so I deactivated it again. But that only put me back in the useless stage I was in before, with Facebook including me with their “active” accounts.

I wonder if they are doing this just to make themselves look bigger than they are in order to get a bigger sales price should they ever go public. Google and Yahoo both tried to buy Facebook. But Facebook didn’t sell. Are they holding out for more? Are they buying time to build an even bigger false image, fooling anyone who may still want to buy them out?

I had posted notices to Facebook requested to remove all my profile data and waited and waited. I even tried logging back in to search for a link that might allow complete removal. But every time I logged in, I found more friend requests. I even found some requests from people I knew. That bothered me because these people should be emailing me direct if they want to be in touch. After all, they knew me. How silly!

I tried changing all my profile info so that it would not match up if anyone tried to find me on Facebook. I didn’t think it was fair to let people request to be my friend if I wasn’t looking at it and responding anyway. Those who really know me can just email me. They have my email address.

When I tried to change the data, a notice indicated that the changes would take effect after a few days. But after many months, the changes I made to my city, state and other info all remained the same as I first entered it.

Okay, I realize that the Facebook privacy policy does say that any information you enter remains. But this is stupid. What if someone moves? Or did they refuse to allow my changes because they knew I was doing it to try to negate my profile? I wonder.

After many more months, I spent hours on Internet searches for help from other people in blogs and news columns. I discovered that this is a widespread problem. I tried going into the Facebook help section and entered the query “I want to permanently delete my account”. Aha! I found the following in the Help Center on Facebook’s website.…

Detailed Instructions To Delete Facebook Account
Detailed Instructions To Delete Facebook Account | Source

Note that they admit, “we do save your profile information (friends, photos, interests, etc.), and your account will look just the way it did when you deactivated if you decide to reactivate it.”

And their privacy policy, the way I interpret it, clearly indicates that you have no privacy. So I call it a non-privacy policy.

Anyway, I followed through with the request and waited another couple of months. My profile never disappeared. After several months I decided to try deleting my profile again. I tried to log in and my passcode was no good. I clicked on the “forgot passcode” option to reset my passcode, and got back an indication that my email address was not associated with any account. Of course not, they deleted my account! BUT THEY LEFT THE DATA THERE!

Facebook’s Privacy Policy

This behavior of keeping user data happens to be clearly explained in their privacy policy. All I can say is “Buyer Beware!” Or in this case, “Facebook Member Beware!”

In my Internet searches, I have found blogs where people’s lives were destroyed because of comments or other information they themselves posted, or that others have posted about them, true or not, that may jeopardize their future and that Facebook will never ever remove.

Once these people grow up and try to get their first job employment, it all comes back to haunt them.

Facebook’s Privacy Settings

In June 2009 Facebook added a feature to allow blocking various data by specifying what you want to make available and to whom. You can specify to just let friends see your data, or friends of friends, or everyone. Problem is, that when they implemented this, the default is “everyone” and most users don’t even know the feature is available to be changed.

Mark Zuckerberg, himself, had his profile publicly visible since October 2009. You could not request to be a friend. That was blocked. But you could still see his friends list and make requests to each of them to be your friend. Major privacy issue if you ask me!

On December 9th, 2009 Facebook introduced some new privacy settings. Their non-privacy policy still remains as I still see my “deleted” profile is still online and can be found with a Google search.

The new settings allow one to specify what parts of your profile are visible and to whom. You can now hide your friend list. But third party apps exist that can circumvent that and trace your friends. Facebook’s privacy policy still says “We are not responsible for third party circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures on Facebook.”

Facebook continues to introduce changes from time to time. In July 2010 Facebook redesigned their event pages to look more like the profile pages in an effort to make all of the site have a common look and feel. But one thing that never changes is that they continue to have the desire to hold on to old accounts that are long gone.

Later in 2010 they simplified the privacy page by including the ability to set privacy on everything you share. Okay, that may help. But deleting everything has always remained a mystery.

Facebook’s Privacy Violations

Facebook settled eight counts of privacy violations with the Federal Trade Commission according to a story in the Washington Post on Nov 29th 2011. Facebook has avoided monetary fines by agreeing to change certain aspects of its privacy policy.

I don’t see much improvement with this since they are still taking advantage of people who don’t read their privacy policy page before signing up.

The changes they made to settle with the FTC simply specify that they will ask users for permission before changing the way they share user data. This doesn’t help those who have lost their privacy rights because they signed up prior to this settlement. It will only require notification of changes to the present policy. How silly is that?

Why It’s So Difficult to Delete Your Facebook Account

Previously they just had a link that deactivates your account as I spoke about above. They never gave any way to delete anything since their privacy policy says they own anything you upload and all data you enter.

Facebook finally created a way to delete accounts. But they made it extremely complicated so the request tends to fail. But found out how to succeeded at it.

I found a link hidden away deep in the pages of Facebook that lets one permanently delete an account. But it involves all sorts of rules to follow after you submit your request. If you mess up, your request is canceled.

You also have to follow strict rules throughout a 14 day period. This I am sure was done to increase your chances of messing up during that time.

Okay, I know you are wondering what I am talking about. So let me tell you the details of what I went through. I followed the steps…and it said, “Your account will be removed in 14 days.” This is tricky. They obviously don’t want to make it easy.

If they truly wanted to allow people to delete their accounts, they would have simply let the request be performed immediately and be done with it. But by requiring a 14-day waiting period it gives you the opportunity to undo your request, which keeps your account intact and active. There are several ways you can easily mess up in those 14 days…

  • If you leave your Facebook app on your iPhone and your phone is turned on during that 14-day period, your request to delete your account will be canceled.
  • If you accidentally click a “like” button on any website that uses Facebook to register the “like” then your request to delete your account will be canceled.
  • If you log into any other social networking site that uses Facebook Connect, your request to delete your account will be canceled.

How to Really Delete Your FaceBook Profile

Okay. So here is the way to finally get yourself out of Facebook. Have fun finding this info on their site. It’s not prominently displayed. But you don’t need to look. I explain it all here.

I was actually able to get a new password to log on to my deactivated account. That was mandatory in order to get back in to delete it with their new method. I tried it in March 2011 and now I can’t find my profile. Finally really gone!

So if you can still log in, go to the following URL and carefully follow the instructions on that page.

https://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=delete_account

If you did it all as they request, your account will be in a deactivated state for 14 days and will be permanently deleted after that 14 day period. But ONLY if you abide by all the following…

  • Remove any reference to your Facebook account from any other website that uses Facebook Connect logins.
  • Remove any Facebook apps from your iPhone.
  • Refrain from clicking any “Like” buttons on any sites if they use Facebook.

Now wait 14 days. Three weeks just to be sure because if you check on it before its done, you will have canceled your delete request. The same is true if any other service you use attempts to access your Facebook account within that 14 day period. The deletion process will be canceled and your account will remain activate.

You see? It’s still not easy. So what do you think? Is it a deception that Facebook is creating?

Facebook Trends from 2011 thru 2014

In the three years from 2011 through 2014, Facebook lost 3 million teens, but gained over 12 million adults over the age of 55.

There may be many reasons why teens are leaving Facebook, such as the frustrations listed in the next section below this chart. But it’s also possible that they don’t want to be on the same social network where their parents are on.

2011
2014
2017
Teens (13-17)
13 million
9.8 million
Adults 55+
15.5 million
28 million
Total
28.5 million
37.8 million
1.86 billion
Source: 2011 and 2014 Data from iStrategyLabs | 2017 Data From Zephoria.com

Frustrations with Facebook

I thought it would be helpful to include some questions people are asking. It’s a clear representation of the anguish people are feeling. I also include my answers to these questions.

  • Why am I still getting friend requests even though I deactivated my Facebook account?
    • ANSWER: Deactivating your account does not remove your profile, which is now owned by Facebook according to their privacy policy which most people don’t read when they sign up..
  • What info remains for friends to see when facebook account is deactivated?
    • ANSWER: Your deactivated profile remains available for search. I myself still got friend requests even though I deactivated my account. So that means they are finding me when they search.
  • Once I have deactivated my account why is it still showing in Google search?
    • ANSWER: Facebook leaves your profile online. Deactivated Facebook accounts still show up in searches because Google bots still find your Facebook profile.
  • Why do I still get friend requests after deactivating my Facebook profile?
    • ANSWER: As long as your profile remains and search engines find it, then other people can find you and send a friend request.

https://turbofuture.com/internet/Obsolete-Facebook-Profile-Charade

Read Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s planned testimony before Congress

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce released Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s remarksthat he plans to make Wednesday. They follow below in entirety. 

HEARING BEFORE THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE

April 11, 2018

Testimony of Mark Zuckerberg Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Facebook

I. INTRODUCTION

Chairman Walden, Ranking Member Pallone, and Members of the Committee,

We face a number of important issues around privacy, safety, and democracy, and you will rightfully have some hard questions for me to answer. Before I talk about the steps we’re taking to address them, I want to talk about how we got here.

Facebook is an idealistic and optimistic company. For most of our existence, we focused on all the good that connecting people can bring. As Facebook has grown, people everywhere have gotten a powerful new tool to stay connected to the people they love, make their voices heard, and build communities and businesses. Just recently, we’ve seen the #metoo movement and the March for Our Lives, organized, at least in part, on Facebook. After Hurricane Harvey, people raised more than $20 million for relief. And more than 70 million small businesses now use Facebook to grow and create jobs.

But it’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well. That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy. We didn’t take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake. It was my mistake, and I’m sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.

So now we have to go through every part of our relationship with people and make sure we’re taking a broad enough view of our responsibility. It’s not enough to just connect people, we have to make sure those connections are positive. It’s not enough to just give people a voice, we have to make sure people aren’t using it to hurt people or spread misinformation.

It’s not enough to give people control of their information, we have to make sure developers they’ve given it to are protecting it too. Across the board, we have a responsibility to not just build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good.

It will take some time to work through all of the changes we need to make, but I’m committed to getting it right. That includes improving the way we protect people’s information and safeguard elections around the world. Here are a few key things we’re doing:

II. CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been working to understand exactly what happened with Cambridge Analytica and taking steps to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We took important actions to prevent this from happening again today four years ago, but we also made mistakes, there’s more to do, and we need to step up and do it.

    A. What Happened

In 2007, we launched the Facebook Platform with the vision that more apps should be social. Your calendar should be able to show your friends’ birthdays, your maps should show where your friends live, and your address book should show their pictures. To do this, we enabled people to log into apps and share who their friends were and some information about them.

In 2013, a Cambridge University researcher named Aleksandr Kogan created a personality quiz app. It was installed by around 300,000 people who agreed to share some of their Facebook information as well as some information from their friends whose privacy settings allowed it. Given the way our platform worked at the time this meant Kogan was able to access some information about tens of millions of their friends.

In 2014, to prevent abusive apps, we announced that we were changing the entire platform to dramatically limit the Facebook information apps could access. Most importantly, apps like Kogan’s could no longer ask for information about a person’s friends unless their friends had also authorized the app. We also required developers to get approval from Facebook before they could request any data beyond a user’s public profile, friend list, and email address. These actions would prevent any app like Kogan’s from being able to access as much Facebook data today.

In 2015, we learned from journalists at The Guardian that Kogan had shared data from his app with Cambridge Analytica. It is against our policies for developers to share data without people’s consent, so we immediately banned Kogan’s app from our platform, and demanded that Kogan and other entities he gave the data to, including Cambridge Analytica, formally certify that they had deleted all improperly acquired data — which they ultimately did.

Last month, we learned from The GuardianThe New York Times and Channel 4 that Cambridge Analytica may not have deleted the data as they had certified. We immediately banned them from using any of our services. Cambridge Analytica claims they have already deleted the data and has agreed to a forensic audit by a firm we hired to investigate this. We’re also working with the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office, which has jurisdiction over Cambridge Analytica, as it completes its investigation into what happened.

    B. What We Are Doing

We have a responsibility to make sure what happened with Kogan and Cambridge Analytica doesn’t happen again. Here are some of the steps we’re taking:

Safeguarding our platform. We need to make sure that developers like Kogan who got access to a lot of information in the past can’t get access to as much information going forward.

    •  We made some big changes to the Facebook platform in 2014 to dramatically restrict the amount of data that developers can access and to proactively review the apps on our platform. This makes it so a developer today can’t do what Kogan did years ago.

    • But there’s more we can do here to limit the information developers can access and put more safeguards in place to prevent abuse.

        • We’re removing developers’ access to your data if you haven’t used their app in three months.

        • We’re reducing the data you give an app when you approve it to only your name, profile photo, and email address. That’s a lot less than apps can get on any other major app platform.

        • We’re requiring developers to not only get approval but also to sign a contract that imposes strict requirements in order to ask anyone for access to their posts or other private data.

        •  We’re restricting more APIs like groups and events. You should be able to sign into apps and share your public information easily, but anything that might also share other people’s information — like other posts in groups you’re in or other people going to events you’re going to — will be much more restricted.

       • Two weeks ago, we found out that a feature that lets you look someone up by their phone number and email was abused. This feature is useful in cases where people have the same name, but it was abused to link people’s public Facebook information to a phone number they already had. When we found out about the abuse, we shut this feature down.

Investigating other apps We’re in the process of investigating every app that had access to a large amount of information before we locked down our platform in 2014. If we detect suspicious activity, we’ll do a full forensic audit. And if we find that someone is improperly using data, we’ll ban them and tell everyone affected.

Building better controls Finally, we’re making it easier to understand which apps you’ve allowed to access your data. This week we started showing everyone a list of the apps you’ve used and an easy way to revoke their permissions to your data. You can already do this in your privacy settings, but we’re going to put it at the top of News Feed to make sure everyone sees it. And we also told everyone whose Facebook information may have been shared with Cambridge Analytica.

Beyond the steps we had already taken in 2014, I believe these are the next steps we must take to continue to secure our platform.

III. RUSSIAN ELECTION INTERFERENCE

Facebook’s mission is about giving people a voice and bringing people closer together. Those are deeply democratic values and we’re proud of them. I don’t want anyone to use our tools to undermine democracy. That’s not what we stand for. We were too slow to spot and respond to Russian interference, and we’re working hard to get better. Our sophistication in handling these threats is growing and improving quickly. We will continue working with the government to understand the full extent of Russian interference, and we will do our part not only to ensure the integrity of free and fair elections around the world, but also to give everyone a voice and to be a force for good in democracy everywhere.

    A. What Happened

Elections have always been especially sensitive times for our security team, and the 2016 U.S. presidential election was no exception.

Our security team has been aware of traditional Russian cyber threats — like hacking and malware — for years. Leading up to Election Day in November 2016, we detected and dealt with several threats with ties to Russia. This included activity by a group called APT28, that the U.S. government has publicly linked to Russian military intelligence services.

But while our primary focus was on traditional threats, we also saw some new behavior in the summer of 2016 when APT28-related accounts, under the banner of DC Leaks, created fake personas that were used to seed stolen information to journalists. We shut these accounts down for violating our policies.

After the election, we continued to investigate and learn more about these new threats. What we found was that bad actors had used coordinated networks of fake accounts to interfere in the election: promoting or attacking specific candidates and causes, creating distrust in political institutions, or simply spreading confusion. Some of these bad actors also used our ads tools.

We also learned about a disinformation campaign run by the Internet Research Agency (IRA) — a Russian agency that has repeatedly acted deceptively and tried to manipulate people in the US, Europe, and Russia. We found about 470 accounts and pages linked to the IRA, which generated around 80,000 Facebook posts over about a two-year period.

Our best estimate is that approximately 126 million people may have been served content from a Facebook Page associated with the IRA at some point during that period. On Instagram, where our data on reach is not as complete, we found about 120,000 pieces of content, and estimate that an additional 20 million people were likely served it.

Over the same period, the IRA also spent approximately $100,000 on more than 3,000 ads on 5 Facebook and Instagram, which were seen by an estimated 11 million people in the United States. We shut down these IRA accounts in August 2017.

    B. What We Are Doing

There’s no question that we should have spotted Russian interference earlier, and we’re working hard to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Our actions include:

    • Building new technology to prevent abuse. Since 2016, we have improved our techniques to prevent nation states from interfering in foreign elections, and we’ve built more advanced AI tools to remove fake accounts more generally. There have been a number of important elections since then where these new tools have been successfully deployed. For example:

        • In France, leading up to the presidential election in 2017, we found and took down 30,000 fake accounts.

        • In Germany, before the 2017 elections, we worked directly with the election commission to learn from them about the threats they saw and to share information.

        • In the U.S. Senate Alabama special election last year, we deployed new AI tools that proactively detected and removed fake accounts from Macedonia trying to spread misinformation.

        •  We have disabled thousands of accounts tied to organized, financially motivated fake news spammers. These investigations have been used to improve our automated systems that find fake accounts.

       • Last week, we took down more than 270 additional pages and accounts operated by the IRA and used to target people in Russia and Russian speakers in countries like Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine. Some of the pages we removed belong to Russian news organizations that we determined were controlled by the IRA.

    • Significantly increasing our investment in security. We now have about 15,000 people working on security and content review. We’ll have more than 20,000 by the end of this year.

        •  I’ve directed our teams to invest so much in security — on top of the other investments we’re making — that it will significantly impact our profitability going forward. But I want to be clear about what our priority is: protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits.

    • Strengthening our advertising policies. We know some Members of Congress are exploring ways to increase transparency around political or issue advertising, and we’re happy to keep working with Congress on that. But we aren’t waiting for legislation to act.

        • From now on, every advertiser who wants to run political or issue ads will need to be authorized. To get authorized, advertisers will need to confirm their identity and location. Any advertiser who doesn’t pass will be prohibited from running political or issue ads. We will also label them and advertisers will have to show you who paid for them. We’re starting this in the U.S. and expanding to the rest of the world in the coming months.

        • For even greater political ads transparency, we have also built a tool that lets anyone see all of the ads a page is running. We’re testing this in Canada now and we’ll launch it globally this summer. We’re also creating a searchable archive of past political ads.

        • We will also require people who manage large pages to be verified as well. This will make it much harder for people to run pages using fake accounts, or to grow virally and spread misinformation or divisive content that way. o In order to require verification for all of these pages and advertisers, we will hire thousands of more people. We’re committed to getting this done in time for the critical months before the 2018 elections in the U.S. as well as elections in Mexico, Brazil, India, Pakistan and elsewhere in the next year.

        • These steps by themselves won’t stop all people trying to game the system. But they will make it a lot harder for anyone to do what the Russians did during the 2016 election and use fake accounts and pages to run ads. Election interference is a problem that’s bigger than any one platform, and that’s why we support the Honest Ads Act. This will help raise the bar for all political advertising online.

    • Sharing information. We’ve been working with other technology companies to share information about threats, and we’re also cooperating with the U.S. and foreign governments on election integrity.

At the same time, it’s also important not to lose sight of the more straightforward and larger ways Facebook plays a role in elections.

In 2016, people had billions of interactions and open discussions on Facebook that may never have happened offline. Candidates had direct channels to communicate with tens of millions of citizens. Campaigns spent tens of millions of dollars organizing and advertising online to get their messages out further. And we organized “get out the vote” efforts that helped more than 2 million people register to vote who might not have voted otherwise.

Security — including around elections — isn’t a problem you ever fully solve. Organizations like the IRA are sophisticated adversaries who are constantly evolving, but we’ll keep improving our techniques to stay ahead. And we’ll also keep building tools to help more people make their voices heard in the democratic process.

IV. CONCLUSION

My top priority has always been our social mission of connecting people, building community and bringing the world closer together. Advertisers and developers will never take priority over that as long as I’m running Facebook.

I started Facebook when I was in college. We’ve come a long way since then. We now serve more than 2 billion people around the world, and every day, people use our services to stay connected with the people that matter to them most. I believe deeply in what we’re doing. And when we address these challenges, I know we’ll look back and view helping people connect and giving more people a voice as a positive force in the world.

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The Pronk Pops Show 1059, April 11, 2018, Story 1: When Will President Trump Ask Congress For A Declaration of War Against Syria Required By The Constitution of The United States? — Congress Is Abdicating Their Responsibility To Declare War! — The Big Loophole Is The War Powers Resolution of 1973 or War Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) — From Constitutional Representative Republic of Peace and Propensity to Two Party Tyranny American Empire Warfare and Welfare State — No More Presidential Undeclared Wars! — Videos –Story 2: Trump Wants 4,000 National Guard Force Assisting U.S. Border Patrol — Zero Miles of Wall Built — Videos — Story 3: House Speaker Paul Ryan Retiring January 2018 — Videos

Posted on April 12, 2018. Filed under: American History, Banking System, Barack H. Obama, Bill Clinton, Blogroll, Bombs, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Chemical Explosion, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Cruise Missiles, Culture, Deep State, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Independence, Iran Nuclear Weapons Deal, James Comey, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Media, MIssiles, National Interest, National Security Agency, Nerve Gas, News, Nuclear, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Privacy, Progressives, Radio, Rand Paul, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rifles, Robert S. Mueller III, Rule of Law, Scandals, Security, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Syria, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Terrorism, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vietnam, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Welfare Spending, Wisdom, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: When Will President Trump Ask Congress For A Declaration of War Against Syria Required By The Constitution of The United States? — Congress Is Abdicating Their Responsibility To Declare War! — The Big Loophole Is The War Powers Resolution of 1973 or War Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548) — From Constitutional Representative Republic of Peace and Propensity to Two Party Tyranny American Empire Warfare and Welfare State — No More Presidential Undeclared Wars! — Videos —

Tucker Carlson Debates Pro Syrian War Commentator Noah Rothman

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Ron Paul on The Unconstitutional War Powers Act and an Agitated James Baker

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Why the United States doesn’t declare war anymore

Why the United States doesn’t declare war anymore

By Sara Jerving Apr 7, 2017

President Trump justified the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on a Syrian air base Thursday night as being in the “vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.” He did not ask for Congress’ authorization to carry out the strikes.

Ordered in retaliation for a horrific Syrian sarin gas attack on civilians Tuesday, the strikes came on the 100th anniversary of the day the U.S. declared war on Germany and entered World War I. The U.S. has formally declared war 11 timesin its history, but the last time was during World War II.

Trump ordered the Syria strike under the War Powers Resolution, which says a president has to report to Congress within 48 hours if the U.S. armed forces are introduced into a conflict. It’s a law that was enacted in 1973 to restore Congress’ role in authorizing force in response to the lack of a formal war declaration in the Korean and Vietnam wars. Under the law, troops cannot stay for more than 90 days unless Congress approves.

Today, American forces are still operating under the authorization for the use of military force that President George W. Bush requested after the September 11 attacks in order to fight countries or groups connected to the attacks.

Regarding the Syria strikes, the White House said that about two dozen members of Congress were notified and briefed while the strikes were underway, but some want Trump to seek congressional approval. “Assad is a brutal dictator who must be held accountable for his actions,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, Democrat from Virginia. “But President Trump has launched a military strike against Syria without a vote of Congress. The Constitution says war must be declared by Congress.”

“The United States was not attacked. The president needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution, and I call on him to come to Congress for a proper debate,” said Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

A true declaration of war would give the president broad legal authority, such as the ability to stop exports of agricultural products, control transportation systems, and order manufacturing plants to produce weapons — and even seize the plants if they refuse. President Truman skirted Congress when he sent troops to Korea in 1950 without seeking a declaration of war, eventually numbering 1.8 million U.S. service members. In the early days, he referred to the troop introduction as a “police action.” This set a precedent for future conflicts.

But since 9/11, the definition of “war” has become more vague and lacks the geographical restrictions it used to. Before a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001, President Bush said, “Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”

In August 2013, President Obama drafted legislation for Congress to grant authorization of military force in Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack. It was not approved. Again, in February 2015, five months after the U.S. began launching airstrikes in Syria, Obama asked Congress to authorize force against the Islamic State group. It didn’t approve the authorization. In 2014, Rand Paul introduced a formal declaration of war against ISIS. It was not passed. For the 2011 strikes in Libya, the Obama administration argued it didn’t need authorization because the air campaign was part of an international coalition.

Rep. Barbara Lee, the only member of Congress who voted against the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, tweeted in response to the strikes inSyria: “This is an act of war. Congress needs to come back into session & hold a debate. Anything less is an abdication of our responsibility.” She also saidthat the strikes were beyond the scope of the 2001 authorization that Congress granted Bush. Lee has previously introduced legislation to repeal the Bush-era authorization of force.

Even Trump himself used to be on board with this line of thought. In 2013, hetweeted about the need for President Obama to get permission from Congress, “What will we get for bombing Syria besides more debt and a possible long-term conflict? Obama needs congressional approval.”

https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/kzg9dx/why-the-united-states-doesnt-declare-war-anymore

 

War Powers Resolution

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
War Powers Resolution
Great Seal of the United States
Long title Joint resolution concerning the war powers of Congress and the President.
Enacted by the 93rd United States Congress
Effective November 7, 1973
Citations
Public law 93-148
Statutes at Large 87 Stat.555
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the HouseasH.J.Res. 542byClement J. Zablocki (DWIon May 3, 1973
  • Committee consideration byHouse Foreign Affairs
  • Passed the House on July 10, 1973 (244–170)
  • Passed the Senate on July 20, 1973 (75-20)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee onOctober 4, 1973; agreed to by the Senate on October 10, 1973 (75–20and by the House on October 12, 1973 (238–122)
  • Vetoed by PresidentRichard Nixonon October 24, 1973
  • Overridden by the House on November 7, 1973 (284–135)
  • Overridden by the Senate and became law onNovember 7, 1973 (75–18)
wars and interventions

United States1812 North AmericaHouse Federalists’ Address1847 Mexican–American WarSpot Resolutions1917 World War IFilibuster of the Armed Ship Bill1935–1939Neutrality Acts1935–1940Ludlow Amendment1970 VietnamMcGovern–Hatfield Amendment1970 Southeast AsiaCooper–Church Amendment1971 VietnamRepeal of Tonkin Gulf Resolution1973 Southeast AsiaCase–Church Amendment1973War Powers Resolution1974Hughes–Ryan Amendment1976 AngolaClark Amendment1982 NicaraguaBoland Amendment2007 IraqHouse Concurrent Resolution 63

 

The War Powers Resolution (also known as the War Powers Resolution of 1973 or the War Powers Act) (50 U.S.C. 1541–1548)[1] is a federal law intended to check the president‘s power to commit the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of the U.S. Congress. The Resolution was adopted in the form of a United States Congress joint resolution. It provides that the U.S. President can send U.S. Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, “statutory authorization,” or in case of “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”

The War Powers Resolution requires the President to notify Congress within 48 hours of committing armed forces to military action and forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30-day withdrawal period, without a Congressional authorization for use of military force (AUMF) or a declaration of war by the United States. The resolution was passed by two-thirds of Congress, overriding the vetoof the bill from President Nixon.

It has been alleged that the War Powers Resolution has been violated in the past – for example, by President Bill Clinton in 1999, during the bombing campaign in Kosovo. Congress has disapproved all such incidents, but none has resulted in any successful legal actions being taken against the president for alleged violations.[2]

Background

Under the United States Constitution, war powers are divided. Congress has the power to raise and support the armed forces, control the war funding (Article I, Section 8), and has the “Power … to declare war”, while the President is commander-in-chief of the military, and the militia (armed citizenry) “when called into the actual Service of the United States” (Article II, Section 2). It is generally agreed that the commander-in-chief role gives the President power to repel attacks against the United States[3][4] and makes the President responsible for leading the armed forces. In addition and as with all acts of the Congress, the President has the right to sign or veto congressional acts, such as a declaration of war. However, the war power was intentionally split between Congress and the Executive to prevent unilateral executive action counter to the nation’s direct interests.

History

Background and passage

During the Korean and Vietnam wars, the United States found itself involved for many years in situations of intense conflict without a declaration of war. Many members of Congress became concerned with the erosion of congressional authority to decide when the United States should become involved in a war or the use of armed forces that might lead to war. It was prompted by news leaking out that President Nixon conducted secret bombings of Cambodia during the Vietnam War without notifying Congress.

The War Powers Resolution was passed by both the House of Representatives and Senate but was vetoed by President Richard Nixon. By a two-thirds vote in each house, Congress overrode the veto and enacted the joint resolution into law on November 7, 1973.

Implementation, 1993–2002

Presidents have submitted 130[5] reports to Congress as a result of the War Powers Resolution, although only one (the Mayagüez incident) cited Section 4(a)(1) and specifically stated that forces had been introduced into hostilities or imminent danger.

Congress invoked the War Powers Resolution in the Multinational Force in Lebanon Act (P.L. 98-119), which authorized the Marines to rema