44 thoughts on “News/Politics 6-15-18

  1. Weasels do weaselly stuff..


    “James Comey tried to get in front of the I.G. report with a tweet sent around the time the report was made publicly available. He knew exactly what it was going to say because he had the opportunity to dispute and probably edit or even cut portions dealing with him.”


  2. Liked by 1 person

  3. The Trump Cult is more rabid, but the Democrats are just as angry. They are focusing on the major conclusions of the report while The Cult searches for tidbits. I don’t feel sorry for the Dems. Like the Republicans, they nominated someone who was under FBI investigation.


  4. The chickens are roosting.


    “Another group of chickens are coming home to roost in the second year of the Trump presidency, namely the NeverTrump variety of fowl. Somewhere on the scale between turkey and chicken, most resembling peacocks however, these birds are finding that there is no nest for them to come home to. They are left to roost in the green rooms and television studios of CNN and MSNBC, rather than in the halls of government where they are most comfortable.

    The NeverTrumpers, who were adamantly against Donald Trump’s nomination, election, and virtually every subsequent decision, are now suddenly befuddled as to why they remain on the outside in the cold, looking in on a warm, cozy, and productive White House.

    In a recent issue of Foreign Policy, Matthew Kroenig, a 40-year-old Georgetown professor and expert on nuclear proliferation, with work at both the CIA and Pentagon on his resume, wonders why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hasn’t called him to serve in the State Department. He seems a logical choice to advise the Trump administration as they paddle through unchartered waters with Trump’s new pal, Little Rocket Man.

    So, what’s the problem? Why is this ideal candidate getting the cold shoulder from Team Trump? It seems his chickens have come home to roost.”


  5. As noted last night, the misuse of a private foundation is a serious issue though it is the type of dishonest behavior which Trump engages in daily. If the Dems decide to impeach the lunatic next year, this will be in one of the articles of impeachment.


  6. More cheaters have been exposed.


    “Defenders of the FBI have long argued that Page and Strzok were radical outliers in the culture of the FBI headquarters. These revelations make that a more difficult case. Could someone rise to senior levels of the FBI if these views, and the language used to express, were far out of the mainstream? Their behavior presents a grotesque caricature of what we taxpayers should expect from federal law enforcement.

    The “conduct of these employees cast a cloud over the entire FBI investigation and sowed doubt about the FBI’s work on, and its handling of, the Midyear investigation,” the inspector general concluded. “The damage caused by these employees’ actions extends far beyond the scope of the Midyear investigation and goes to the heart of the FBI’s reputation for neutral factfinding and political independence.”

    The IG is right, of course. But disciplining those employees will not be nearly enough to fix what’s amiss with the FBI and the DoJ.”


  7. More shoes will be dropping.


    “1) It is important to remember that the IG has not looked into the FBI’s “Russia investigation,” including its continuance by Bob Mueller, and today’s report does not specifically address issues raised by the FBI’s and DOJ’s handling of that matter. However, some of the same people were involved in both investigations, and the IG has disclosed limited materials relating, at least in part, to the Russia investigation. At this point, they are some of the most interesting aspects of the report. But such disclosures are incidental and non-systematic. There could be a great deal more where they came from.

    2) This text exchange between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page is rightfully being described as a bombshell:

    August 8, 2016: In a text message on August 8, 2016, Page stated, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok responded, “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

    There is really only one way to read Strzok’s reply: the FBI intended to stop Donald Trump from becoming President. But he tried to explain it:

    When asked about this text message, Strzok stated that he did not specifically recall sending it, but that he believed that it was intended to reassure Page that Trump would not be elected, not to suggest that he would do something to impact the investigation. Strzok told the OIG that he did not take any steps to try to affect the outcome of the presidential election, in either the Midyear investigation or the Russia investigation. Strzok stated that had he—or the FBI in general—actually wanted to prevent Trump from being elected, they would not have maintained the confidentiality of the investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and members of the Trump campaign in the months before the election. Page similarly stated that, although she could not speak to what Strzok meant by that text message, the FBI’s decision to keep the Russia investigation confidential before the election shows that they did not take steps to impact the outcome of the election.

    That might make sense, except that the FBI did not “maintain the confidentiality of the investigation into alleged collusion.” On the contrary, the “Russia investigation,” including the claim that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians, was the subject of countless leaks. To cite just one example, on November 1, 2018, NBC News headlined: “FBI Making Inquiry Into Ex-Trump Campaign Manager’s Foreign Ties.” The story–like most news stories nowadays, it seems–was based on leaks from “law enforcement and intelligence sources.”

    It is reasonable to suspect that leaks about the FBI investigation from “law enforcement sources” were related to Peter Strzok’s determination to stop Trump from winning the election.”


  8. So here is the truth: FBI agents have college degrees. Many of them have post-graduate degrees. At some point during 2015-2016, the majority of Americans with college degrees and the overwhelming majority of Americans with post-graduate degrees at some point expressed outrage, shock or disgust that the US might elect someone as stupid, dishonest and ridiculous as Donald Trump as its president.


  9. The Cult: Fire Wray (who was appointed by our idol). Fire Rosenstein (who was appointed by our idol). Fire Sessions (who was appointed by our idol). Fire the US Attorney for the SDNY (who was appointed by our idol). Fire Mueller. Abolish the FBI and the IRS. Without law enforcement, Trump will be free to be Trump.


  10. Can’t hide the truth any longer.


    “James Comey once described his position in the Clinton investigation as being the victim of a “500-year flood.” The point of the analogy was that he was unwittingly carried away by events rather than directly causing much of the damage to the FBI. His “500-year flood” just collided with the 500-page report of the Justice Department inspector general (IG) Michael Horowitz. The IG sinks Comey’s narrative with a finding that he “deviated” from Justice Department rules and acted in open insubordination.

    Rather than portraying Comey as carried away by his biblical flood, the report finds that he was the destructive force behind the controversy. The import of the report can be summed up in Comeyesque terms as the distinction between flotsam and jetsam. Comey portrayed the broken rules as mere flotsam, or debris that floats away after a shipwreck. The IG report suggests that this was really a case of jetsam, or rules intentionally tossed over the side by Comey to lighten his load. Comey’s jetsam included rules protecting the integrity and professionalism of his agency, as represented by his public comments on the Clinton investigation.

    The IG report concludes, “While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice.”
    The report will leave many unsatisfied and undeterred. Comey went from a persona non grata to a patron saint for many Clinton supporters. Comey, who has made millions of dollars with a tell-all book portraying himself as the paragon of “ethical leadership,” continues to maintain that he would take precisely the same actions again.

    Ironically, Comey, fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent Peter Strzok and others, by their actions, just made it more difficult for special counsel Robert Mueller to prosecute Trump for obstruction. There is now a comprehensive conclusion by career investigators that Comey violated core agency rules and undermined the integrity of the FBI. In other words, there was ample reason to fire James Comey.

    Had Trump fired Comey immediately upon taking office, there would be little question about his conduct warranting such termination. Instead, Trump waited to fire him and proceeded to make damaging statements about how the Russian investigation was on his mind at the time, as well as telling Russian diplomats the day after that the firing took “pressure off” him. Nevertheless, Mueller will have to acknowledge that there were solid, if not overwhelming, grounds to fire Comey.

    To use the Comey firing now in an obstruction case, Mueller will have to assume that the firing of an “insubordinate” official was done for the wrong reason. Horowitz faced precisely this same problem in his review and refused to make such assumptions about Comey and others. The IG report found additional emails showing a political bias against Trump and again featuring the relationship of Strzok and former FBI attorney Lisa Page. In one exchange, Page again sought reassurance from Strzok, who was a critical player in the investigations of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, that Trump is “not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok responded, “No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.”

    The IG noted that some of these shocking emails occurred at that point in October 2016 when the FBI was dragging its feet on the Clinton email investigation and Strzok was a critical player in that investigation. The IG concluded that bias was reflected in that part of the investigation with regard to Strzok and his role. Notably, the IG was in the same position as Mueller: The IG admits that the Strzok-Page emails “potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions were impacted by bias or improper considerations.” This includes the decision by Strzok to prioritize the Russian investigation over the Clinton investigation. The IG states that “[w]e concluded that we did not have confidence that this decision by Strzok was free from bias.””

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Well I have now read the Executive Summary and there is no way I’m wasting my time reading all 500+ pages of the IG report. The summary confirmed most of my suspicions: The only surprising thing I learned is that the FBI has a records vault account on twitter. I guess this is to make it easier for the press and Russia and China to keep tabs on our internal affairs–sort of keeps us honest.

    One hopes that someone is making good use of all that information since apparently the FBI is not. I noticed a rather interesting transcript of a call to the FBI informing them that Nikolas Cruz was going to buy guns and shoot up a school. This was less than 2 months before he did so in Parkland, Florida.


    Liked by 1 person

  12. But how can we sit up at attention when we are doubled over with laughter?


  13. A brave woman:

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Meanwhile, we’re further away from a war with NoKo than we were 2 months ago, or 2 years ago, or 2 presidents ago. Then again, war does seem to be a ‘Conservative’ value in DC, so I can understand the chagrin over the talks with KJU, and the prospect of war moving further and further from their grasp. Nothing unites conservatives in the US like a good old fashioned war. And nothing fills the pockets of the donors like it either. :–)


  15. It’s official. Tariffs have been issued on selected Chinese products–mostly technology, but exclude things Americans often buy such as televisions and phones.

    USTR Issues Tariffs on Chinese Products in Response to Unfair Trade Practices

    Washington, DC – The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) today released a list of products imported from China that will be subject to additional tariffs as part of the U.S. response to China’s unfair trade practices related to the forced transfer of American technology and intellectual property.

    On May 29, 2018, President Trump stated that USTR shall announce by June 15 the imposition of an additional duty of 25 percent on approximately $50 billion worth of Chinese imports containing industrially significant technologies, including those related to China’s “Made in China 2025” industrial policy. Today’s action comes after an exhaustive Section 301 investigation in which USTR found that China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation are unreasonable and discriminatory, and burden U.S. commerce.

    “We must take strong defensive actions to protect America’s leadership in technology and innovation against the unprecedented threat posed by China’s theft of our intellectual property, the forced transfer of American technology, and its cyber attacks on our computer networks,” said Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. “China’s government is aggressively working to undermine America’s high-tech industries and our economic leadership through unfair trade practices and industrial policies like ‘Made in China 2025.’ Technology and innovation are America’s greatest economic assets and President Trump rightfully recognizes that if we want our country to have a prosperous future, we must take a stand now to uphold fair trade and protect American competitiveness.”

    The list of products issued today covers 1,102 separate U.S. tariff lines valued at approximately $50 billion in 2018 trade values. This list was compiled based on extensive interagency analysis and a thorough examination of comments and testimony from interested parties. It generally focuses on products from industrial sectors that contribute to or benefit from the “Made in China 2025” industrial policy, which include industries such as aerospace, information and communications technology, robotics, industrial machinery, new materials, and automobiles. The list does not include goods commonly purchased by American consumers such as cellular telephones or televisions….



  16. So who scrubbed the references to Obama?

    cough(Comey) cough


    “Thanks for a Friday night news dump last September, we knew that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was emailing back-and-forth with President Obama using her private email address routed through her homebrew server. Don’t worry about national security, though: Obama used a pseudonym that not even Huma Abedin knew, so it was all very secure.

    That fact came up Thursday with the release of the OIG report, but with a new twist: according to the report, Clinton “used her private email extensively while outside the United States, including from the territory of sophisticated adversaries,” but the fact that she was corresponding with the president was scrubbed from James Comey’s exoneration. Instead, references to Obama were changed to “another senior government official” … and then even that bit was dropped from the final draft.”

    Liked by 2 people

  17. A couple of wins for religious freedom. 🙂


    “Two Christian universities won a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate after a judge ruled it violated their religious freedom.

    U.S. District Court Judge Mark W. Bennett ruled Tuesday that an Obama-era mandate requiring health care providers, including universities, to provide abortion services violated the religious rights of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, the Detroit Free Press reported.

    The ruling comes after the two universities filed a lawsuit against the federal government in 2013, alleging the Obama administration mandate was unconstitutional and violated their freedom of religion, according to the report. The Christian nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom represented the universities in the suit.”

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Dershowitz says Comey got off easy, but such is the problem with internal investigations.


    “The report issued Thursday by highly respected Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation shows that FBI Director James Comey deserved to be fired for his actions. But an important question is unanswered: How has the report been changed from Horowitz’s findings as he originally presented them?

    The report made public is apparently a revised version of an earlier draft written by Horowitz. It is imperative that Congress and the public get to see the first draft as well as the final product, in order to determine whether there have been significant changes – and if so, whether they were motivated by political considerations or basic fairness.”

    “Comey’s motivations were worse than partisan. They were personal. He placed his own personal reputation above that of the department and above partisan considerations. He believed that Clinton was going to win the election, and he was worried that if he didn’t disclose matters pertaining to the investigation of her that he personally would be criticized by the Trump people when they lost the election.

    So Comey figured that by providing information that hurt the winning candidate, he would protect himself from such criticism. By placing concern for his own reputation over the rules and standards of the Justice Department, he more than deviated – he abused his trust for personal gain.

    The condemnation of Comey in Inspector General Horowitz’s report should have been much harsher.”

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Love the Bee link Debra. 🙂

    It’s the perfect response to always Moaning about Trump Charen and her pearl clutching friends.

    “Kim Jong Un Criticized For Meeting With Nation That Has Killed 60 Million Babies”

    It’s hard to take the high ground when you have no claim to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Public funding for research should provide the public with substantial benefits. But the public has paid for the research to develop goods and then allowed itself to be gouged by corporate producers. This happens way too much and in many other contexts, but it’s particularly egregious in the Department of Defense.

    Back in 1985, the Project on Government Oversight led the way in exposing contractors who were charging the Pentagon $640 per toilet seat cover. Adjusted for inflation, that would be about $1,512 today. So why are taxpayers now on the hook for nearly seven times that amount, or having to pay contractors if the government produces the seats itself? Without access to cost or pricing information, the government can’t challenge the company’s ask, even after it was found to have exceeded anything else in the commercial marketplace.

    The Department of Defense and Congress have totally abdicated their responsibilities when it comes to making sure taxpayers pay a fair price. Failing to secure upfront government ownership of intellectual property rights for systems it paid to research and develop is one of the main drivers of costs and a major source of contractor profits when it comes to operations and maintenance…. I

    But there might be an out—if the Pentagon wants to use it. Back in 1980, the Bayh-Dole Act was passed, and subsequently expanded by President Reagan. That law provides the government with the right to produce a patented item for its benefit or to exercise “march-in rights” that allow others to commercialize patented technologies and potentially control unreasonable prices—including those for so-called “commercial items.” The law protects taxpayers, “ensuring that U.S. citizens enjoy the benefits of public R&D funding.”

    As of August 2016, however, “[n]o federal agency has ever exercised its power to march in and license patent rights to others,” according to the Congressional Research Service, and Congress hasn’t taken up any legislation to settle debates about when the government can use its march-in rights. In most cases, government officials seem to buy the corporate line that when companies “hold patents” to parts being sold to the government, “others are not allowed to make them.”…



  21. Manafort is going to jail. His old boss had some interesting comments.


  22. So the reason the FBI agents gave for not investigating Clinton and her circle more closely is because……..

    There was too many violations and too many possible crimes to possibly look into it all and it might take forever..

    I kid you not.


    “While the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton’s secret server where she kept official emails out of the view of the authorities until her lawyers could scrub them, for some reason, agents never searched the Blackberries or other email devices belonging to her inner circle at the State Department.

    Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz and his team received a crazy response when they asked FBI agents on the Hillary Clinton email investigation why not.

    The agents’ primary excuse was to point to “the culture of mishandling classified information at the State Department which made the quantity of potential sources of evidence particularly vast” (see page 153).

    Put another way, the agents thought that they might find so much classified information on unauthorized servers and systems that they would become lost in the maze. Horowitz, in what can only be described as a generous admonition, counters by noting “that [this excuse] fails to acknowledge that the team was not required to take an all-or-nothing approach. For example, a middle ground existed where those devices belonging to Clinton’s three top aides – which the team determined accounted for approximately 68 percent of Clinton’s email exchanges – would have been reviewed, but devices belonging to other State Department employees would not.”

    This suggestion by Horowitz seems rather, well, obvious.”

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Mueller finally gets to send someone to jail.

    For things that have zero to do with Trump, his campaign, or Russia.


    “Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally has sent someone to jail. Paul Manafort.

    For nothing having to do with Russia or the Trump campaign.

    For alleged witness tampering in a criminal case based on Manafort’s long ago dealings unrelated to Trump or the campaign.”

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Someone’s got some ‘splainin’ to do Lucy.

    And maybe he can explain why the same group of “investigators” who let Clinton off and showed their bias against Trump were then the same people selected to “investigate” Trump. Why did her lackys get immunity deals after admitting to destroying evidence, yet Trump supporters got midnight raids and search warrants?


    “I can’t believe they haven’t subpoenaed him already. The two intelligence committees have been rotating in Russiagate principals to testify for months notwithstanding Mueller’s parallel investigation. Why hasn’t someone tried to haul Strzok and Lisa Page in before Judiciary to explain what the hell they were doing? We’ve known about some of their “problematic” texts for months. And remember, despite what Democrats might have you believe, objections to Strzok aren’t a partisan matter. It was Bob Mueller’s office that sent him packing last year from the Russiagate probe when they found out about his texting history. They knew how bad the appearance of impropriety was here and scrambled to rid themselves of it. The FBI hasn’t, for whatever strange reason.

    Anyway, it’s time:

    House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte started the clock Friday on a procedure to subpoena Peter Strzok, the FBI agent accused by an internal Justice Department watchdog of harboring intense bias against President Donald Trump…

    Two sources briefed on subpoena effort indicated that Goodlatte has formally notified his Democratic counterparts of his intent to subpoena Strzok, a step that launches a two-day waiting period before he can officially issue the subpoena, under committee procedures…

    The DOJ investigation found that while Strzok’s bias against Trump harmed the FBI’s appearance of neutrality, there was no evidence that his political leanings actually altered the decisions made in the bureau’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

    That last sentence is technically true but grossly misleading. The IG’s office found no smoking gun that Strzok’s contempt for Trump affected his decisionmaking on Emailgate but it speculated that Strzok’s reluctance to see Clinton lose led him to drag his feet on investigating Anthony Weiner’s laptop for new Hillary emails in the home stretch of the campaign. (Which may have cinched her defeat, ironically, by delaying Comey’s eventual disclosure about reopening the probe until the final 10 days of the campaign.) The IG suspects, but can’t prove, that Strzok’s partisanship did influence how he did his job. It’s a disaster for the Bureau’s credibility, particularly coming in such a highly politicized case.”

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Erickson mostly gets it. But I would disagree, there was a conspiracy afoot, as the email trail clearly shows.


    “James Comey ran a Federal Bureau of Incompetence. He deserved to be fired. Donald Trump was right.

    Christopher Wray, the FBI Director, should be fired. He stood before the nation yesterday and tried to downplay any and all concerns about impropriety at the FBI instead of exercising real leadership and taking ownership of the issues. He should be fired.

    Thanks to an Inspector General report, we now know James Comey deserved to be fired and President Trump’s only mistake was not firing Comey sooner. James Comey ran a deeply incompetent and corrupt organization. Agents were taking bribes from reporters for leaks. Agents were sleeping with each other and exchanging information. And partisans within the organization were most definitely making partisan decisions, including attributing benevolent motives to Hillary Clinton and sinister motives to Donald Trump based only on their own partisan inclinations.

    In fact, the Inspector General’s assurance that partisanship did not affect the outcome of any investigation seems more to reassure himself than the public. In one key excerpt, the Inspector General notes that Peter Strzok told his mistress that he’d stop Donald Trump from becoming President. But then the Inspector General concludes that most of the text messages related to that were connected to the Russia investigation outside the scope of the IG investigation.

    It sounds like we need an IG investigation into the Russia probe to conclude this matter.”

    Liked by 2 people

  26. It is starting. Folks who can’t learn basic economics by reading textbooks or reading history may learn it the hard way when they lose their jobs.


  27. Speaking of pardons.


  28. No one should believe anything the man says:


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