If you’d been listening to the American Media Maggots the past 24 hours, you’d think the sky had indeed fallen all across the United States of America.
President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, and the world has, literally, stopped rotating on its axis.
It all started with a letter by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
May 9, 2017
MEMORANDUM FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
FROM: ROD J. ROSENSTEIN
DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL
SUBJECT: RESTORING PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN THE FBI
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has long been regarded as our nation’s premier federal investigative agency. Over the past year, however, the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice. That is deeply troubling to many Department employees and veterans, legislators and citizens.
The current FBI Director is an articulate and persuasive speaker about leadership and the immutable principles of the Department of Justice. He deserves our appreciation for his public service. As you and I have discussed, however, I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken. Almost everyone agrees that the Director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.
The director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution.
It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement. At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors. The Director now defends his decision by asserting that he believed attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict. But the FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department. There is a well-established process for other officials to step in when a conflict requires the recusal of the Attorney General. On July 5, however, the Director announced his own conclusions about the nation’s most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed Justice Department leaders.
Compounding the error, the Director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation. Derogatory information sometimes is disclosed in the course of criminal investigations and prosecutions, but we never release it gratuitously. The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.
In response to skeptical question at a congressional hearing, the Director defended his remarks by saying that his “goal was to say what is true. What did we do, what did we find, what do we think about it.” But the goal of a federal criminal investigation is not to announce our thoughts at a press conference. The goal is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify a federal criminal prosecution, then allow a federal prosecutor who exercises authority delegated by the Attorney General to make a prosecutorial decision, and then – if prosecution is warranted – let the judge and jury determine the facts. We sometimes release information about closed investigations in appropriate ways, but the FBI does not do it.
Concerning his letter to the Congress on October 28, 2016, the Director cast his decision as a choice between whether he would “speak” about the decision to investigate the newly-discovered email messages or “conceal” it. “Conceal” is a loaded term that misstates the issue. When federal agents and prosecutors quietly open a criminal investigation, we are not concealing anything; we are simply following the longstanding policy that we refrain from publicizing non-public information. In that context, silence is not concealment.
My perspective on these issues is shared by former Attorneys General and Deputy Attorneys General from different eras and both political parties. Judge Laurence Silberman, who served as Deputy Attorney General under President Ford, wrote that “it is not the bureau’s responsibility to opine on whether a matter should be prosecuted.” Silberman believes that the Director’s “Performance was so inappropriate for an FBI director that [he] doubt[s] the bureau will ever completely recover.” Jamie Gorelick, Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton, joined with Larry Thompson, Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush, to opine that the Director had “chosen personally to restrike the balance between transparency and fairness, departing from the department’s traditions.” They concluded that the Director violated his obligation to “preserve, protect and defend” the traditions of the Department and the FBI.
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who served under President George W. Bush, observed the Director “stepped way outside his job in disclosing the recommendation in that fashion” because the FBI director “doesn’t make that decision.”
Alberto Gonzales, who also served as Attorney General under President George W. Bush, called the decision “an error in judgement.” Eric Holder, who served as Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton and Attorney General under President Obama, said the Director’s decision“was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and traditions. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season.” Holder concluded that the Director “broke with these fundamental principles” and “negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI.”
Former Deputy Attorneys General Gorelick and Thompson described the unusual events as“real-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit, a kind of reality TV of federal criminal investigation,” that is “antithetical to the interests of justice.”
Donald Ayer, who served as Deputy Attorney General under President H.W. Bush, along with former Justice Department officials, was“astonished and perplexed” by the decision to “break with longstanding practices followed by officials of both parties during past elections.” Ayer’s letter noted, “Perhaps most troubling… is the precedent set by this departure from the Department’s widely-respected, non-partisan traditions.”
We should reject the departure and return to the traditions.
Although the President has the power to remove an FBI director, the decision should not be taken lightly. I agree with the nearly unanimous opinions of former Department officials. The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.
I set out my objections to now-former Director James Comey last year with his horribly flawed reasoning for failing to forward the Hillary Clinton case to the DOJ last year, and also in this post. I was heartened to see that the bulk of my objections were quite similar to those of the Deputy Attorney General.
We all know that President William Jefferson Clinton fired his FBI Director, William Sessions, back in 1993 for essentially political reasons. That was fine with Demorats.
Many Demorats themselves were calling for the severed head of William Comey quite recently.
Yes, two words: what changed?
We all know the answer, quite obviously. Judicial Watch’s CJ Farrell had this to say from last year.
— Judicial Watch 🔎 (@JudicialWatch) May 10, 2017
Maxine Waters at least had the guts to come out and say what every other Demorat and Leftist is thinking about the situation.
Maxine Waters: I Don’t Support Trump Firing Comey, I Would Support Hillary Clinton Firing Comey
by Ian Schwartz
NBC’s Peter Alexander grills Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cali.) for her displeasure at President Trump firing FBI Director James Comey after she had announced in January that he has lost all credibility after attending a classified briefing conducted by the now-former director.
In March, Waters issued a press release that read Comey “advanced Russia’s misinformation campaign.”
However, in the interview Wednesday on MSNBC, asked if she would be okay with a hypothetical President Hillary Clinton dismissing Comey from his position, Waters said yes.
“If she had won the White House, I believe that given what he did to her, and what he tried to do, she should have fired him. Yes,” the California Democrat said.
“So she should have fired him but had he shouldn’t fire him. This is why I’m confused,” Alexander said to Waters.
Honesty and clarity, for once, coming from Maxine Waters in terms of her clear bias.
But it wasn’t just politicians who became unhinged over the firing of James Comey. The so-called “celebrities” did so as well.
Steven Colbert was not amused.
Liberal Crowd Surprises Colbert By Cheering The Firing Of James Comey. Colbert Shames Them By Calling Them Trump Fans pic.twitter.com/PUU7k6RN8o
— Mr. Brexit 🇺🇸 👌 (@KlayVolk) May 10, 2017
Neither was our favorite moonbat, Keith Olbermann.
So what really happened in the White House? What was the final straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back? I wrote back on Tuesday that Comey’s final waffling on the number of emails found in Weiner’s laptop was the kicker. Oddly enough, Dr Sebastian Gorka highlighted that same issue.
The New York Times wrote this about the White House decision.
‘Enough was Enough’: How Festering Anger at Comey Ended in His Firing
by Maggie Haberman, Glenn Thrush, Michael S Schmidt and Peter Baker
WASHINGTON — By the end, neither of them thought much of the other.
After President Trump accused his predecessor in March of wiretapping him, James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, was flabbergasted. The president, Mr. Comey told associates, was “outside the realm of normal,” even “crazy.”
For his part, Mr. Trump fumed when Mr. Comey publicly dismissed the sensational wiretapping claim. In the weeks that followed, he grew angrier and began talking about firing Mr. Comey. After stewing last weekend while watching Sunday talk shows at his New Jersey golf resort, Mr. Trump decided it was time. There was “something wrong with” Mr. Comey, he told aides.
The problem, you see, was that Donald Trump waited too long. As I believed and wrote numerous times, on January 20th at noon, President Trump should have demanded Comey’s resignation letter.
The collision between president and F.B.I. director that culminated with Mr. Comey’s stunning dismissal on Tuesday had been a long time coming. To a president obsessed with loyalty, Mr. Comey was a rogue operator who could not be trusted as the F.B.I. investigated Russian ties to Mr. Trump’s campaign. To a lawman obsessed with independence, Mr. Trump was the ultimate loose cannon, making irresponsible claims on Twitter and jeopardizing the bureau’s credibility.
The other problem was that Comey wasn’t obsessed with any independence other than his own, and not that of the bureau itself. The only person who jeopardized the FBI’s credibility was James Comey.
The White House, in a series of shifting and contradictory accounts, first said Mr. Trump decided to fire Mr. Comey because the attorney general and his deputy recommended it. By Wednesday, it had amended the timeline to say that the president had actually been thinking about getting rid of the F.B.I. director as far back as November, after he won the election, and then became “strongly inclined” after Mr. Comey testified before Congress last week.
Mr. Comey’s fate was sealed by his latest testimony about the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election and the Clinton email inquiry. Mr. Trump burned as he watched, convinced that Mr. Comey was grandstanding. He was particularly irked when Mr. Comey said he was “mildly nauseous” to think that his handling of the email case had influenced the election, which Mr. Trump took to demean his own role in history.
Director Comey was grandstanding.
At that point, Mr. Trump began talking about firing him. He and his aides thought they had an opening because Mr. Comey gave an incorrect account of how Huma Abedin, a top adviser to Mrs. Clinton, transferred emails to her husband’s laptop, an account the F.B.I. later corrected.
As I wrote on Tuesday, that element was the final straw. And yes, it did provide an opening.
At first, Mr. Trump, who is fond of vetting his decisions with a wide circle of staff members, advisers and friends, kept his thinking to a small circle, venting his anger to Vice President Mike Pence; the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II; and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who all told him they generally backed dismissing Mr. Comey.
Then President Trump finally did the right thing.
But wait; hold up on that car wash. Isn’t this the same New York Times that wrote in 1993:
DEFIANT F.B.I. CHIEF REMOVED FROM JOB BY THE PRESIDENT
By DAVID JOHNSTON
Published: July 20, 1993
WASHINGTON, July 19— President Clinton today dismissed William S. Sessions, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who had stubbornly rejected an Administration ultimatum to resign six months after a harsh internal ethics report on his conduct.
Mr. Clinton said he would announce his nominee to replace Mr. Sessions on Tuesday. He was expected to pick Judge Louis J. Freeh of Federal District Court in Manhattan; officials said Judge Freeh had impressed Mr. Clinton favorably on Friday at their first meeting.
Mr. Clinton, explaining his reasons for removing Mr. Sessions, effective immediately, said, “We cannot have a leadership vacuum at an agency as important to the United States as the F.B.I. It is time that this difficult chapter in the agency’s history is brought to a close.”
But in a parting news conference at F.B.I. headquarters after Mr. Clinton’s announcement, a defiant Mr. Sessions — his right arm in a sling as a result of a weekend fall — railed at what he called the unfairness of his removal, which comes nearly six years into his 10-year term.
“Because of the scurrilous attacks on me and my wife of 42 years, it has been decided by others that I can no longer be as forceful as I need to be in leading the F.B.I. and carrying out my responsibilities to the bureau and the nation,” he said. “It is because I believe in the principle of an independent F.B.I. that I have refused to voluntarily resign.”
It appears, according to the New York Times, that President William Clinton, a Demorat, was perfectly well within his rights and abilities to fire Director Sessions who insisted that the FBI be independent. That same newspaper now states that President Donald Trump, a Republican, is not perfectly well within his rights and abilities to fire Director Comey who insisted that the FBI be independent.
The difference? Political parties. Simply that.
James Comey, in a letter to his office the day after his firing, said the president was within his authority to fire a sitting FBI director. From TheHill.com:
Comey farewell: ‘A president can fire an FBI director for any reason’
Former FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday sent a letter to agents and friends following President Trump firing him the previous day.
“I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI director for any reason, or for no reason at all,” he wrote, according to CNN. “I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed.”
Leftist attorney and professor Alan Dershowitz came in on the side of President Trump. From Breitbart.com:
Dershowitz: Comey Firing ‘Appropriate,’ No Special Prosecutor
by Joel B Pollak
Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz told CNN’s Don Lemon on Tuesday night that President Donald Trump was well within his rights to fire former FBI director James Comey, and that there was no need for a special prosecutor in the investigation into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Dershowitz appeared next to CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who was apoplectic. “The fact that he did this will disgrace his memory for as long as this presidency is remembered. There is only one date that will be remembered after Januarth 20th so far in the Trump presidency, and it is the day of the ‘Tuesday Night Massacre,’” Toobin said, referencing President Richard Nixon’s firing of Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate scandal.
Toobin had also told CNN’s Anderson Cooper earlier that Trump would likely name a “campaign stooge” as Comey’s replacement at the FBI.
But Dershowitz disagreed.
“Should Comey be the director of the FBI? The answer to that is no,” he said, noting that he had called earlier for Comey to resign. “He lost his credibility. … A lot of this is his fault.”
When Toobin objected that Trump had fired former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara as well as Comey, “all three of whom had the potential to investigate and trouble the Trump presidency,” Dershowitz argued that they were all Democrat appointees and had all been dismissed appropriately by a Republican president.
Perquisites of the job that have been replicated time and again by Demorat presidents.
Where is John McCain on this because, after all, when the story appears to be about someone else, well, it’s really about John McCain, isn’t it? From the WashingtonPost.com:
John McCain on Comey firing: ‘There will be more shoes to drop’
by Josh Rogin
President Trump’s sudden firing of FBI Director James B. Comey is bad for the country and will not be the end of the Trump-Russia affair, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told a group of foreign diplomats and experts Tuesday night.
Although McCain did not directly accuse the White House of firing Comey to thwart the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible Russia ties, he did say that if that was the intention, it would fail.
Again, news about truth isn’t news. News about specious insinuation is news.
“This scandal is going to go on. I’ve seen it before,” McCain told a meeting of the Munich Security Conference core group. “This is a centipede. I guarantee you there will be more shoes to drop, I can just guarantee it. There’s just too much information that we don’t have that will be coming out.”
He called Trump’s actions against Comey “unprecedented” and said the position of FBI director has held special meaning in American public life dating back decades.
Ooooh, scary, John, very scary.
“Probably the most respected individual in all of the American government is probably the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” McCain said. “I’m very sorry that this has happened.”
The event was off the record, but McCain gave me permission to place his comments on the record. He said that Trump had the legal basis to fire Comey but that his decision would have long-term negative consequences.
“I regret it, I think it’s unfortunate,” McCain said. “The president does have that constitutional authority. But I can’t help but think that this is not a good thing for America.”
I refer to this article solely to illustrate how terribly out-of-touch is John McCain with the law and with reality. However, even McCain isn’t yet sufficiently addled to refute the authority of a president to fire an FBI director.
Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom weighs in on the Comey situation and likewise concludes that President Trump acted appropriately. “I’m glad it happened.”
As I’ve said, I still have law enforcement contacts across the fruited plain and I know that the bulk of line-level agents, not necessarily supervisors or managers, were relieved to see the dismissal of William Comey. Judge Andrew Napolitano confirms this.
Newt Gingrich also weighs in on the issue with Sean Hannity.
Let us not forget the 10 major scandals that occurred on the 3.5-year watch of Director Comey.
The bottom line is this: former FBI Director James Comey made quite a number of flawed decisions based not upon the law but instead on politics. He placed himself in front of cameras frequently as he enjoyed the limelight. He did so for self-aggrandizing reasons. Having a self-righteous and poor decision-maker in charge of the FBI is not a formula for success or for ensuring confidence in the bureau.
The firing of James Comey was long overdue.