What drama was Comey’s testimony.
The Senators slobbered, the Senators drooled (more than usual) over every word. But – being cheap dates at best; expensive whores at worst – they were always easy to con.
Impressing me is not nearly so easy. But even I must admit being impressed for so much storm and fury that in the end signaled no collusion crimes at all had been committed, just as here predicted:
It’s almost impossible to conceive how there could have been an underlying crime between the Trump campaign and Russia without the evidence leaking to the media after Obama’s intelligence services, Hillary’s opposition research team, Comey’s FBI, the entire Democratic party, multiple Congressional Committees, almost all of the Republican establishment, and every media outlet on the planet spent over a year obsessively searching for proof.
If there were solid proof the media wouldn’t be wasting time “inferring” from pieces of “memos” written on cocktail napkins by anonymous, second hand, sources that Trump tipped off the Russians to the great, classified, secret that Israel is conducting intel operations in Syrian cities controlled by ISIS.
Putin would have never guessed.
In announcing there were no crimes to report on he spiced his (suspiciously) John Grisham-like written statement with quotes from Henry II in his oral testimony.
If he was capable of such a mesmerizing, grandstanding performance that, in the end, amounted to nothing more than a laughably weak framework for “obstruction of justice”, just imagine the scene if he had found a single particle of evidence for “collusion”.
Comey would have surely recited the last two acts of King Lear before the great stage of fools otherwise known as the United States Senate, moon walked across the Senate floor handing out articles of impeachment, and ended the night with a fireworks display over the Capitol Rotunda spelling out his name .
And did he ever prove Pragmatically Distributed right about his contempt for the Obama and Clinton Democrats (“Dear Loretta, remember how you ditched me on the tarmac altar?“) and the rumor-addicted media (“like feeding seagulls“):
For his next buzz he looked to the incoming Trump administration. If he could bring down Hillary Clinton when she had the full institutional backing of the establishment, how much easier would it be for him to bring down this blowhard clown, Trump, when Comey would have the endorsement of the establishment?
Regardless whether he saw himself as a future President, Comey’s actions are remarkable for the tremendous contempt they showed for the political process and the establishment.
But why shouldn’t he be contemptuous? Look at who the other anti-Trump actors are in this saga.
NeverTrump? Political incompetents who couldn’t get Obama elected mayor of San Francisco.
The Progressives? Raving lunatics who hide in safe spaces clinging bitterly to their playdough whenever they run into an offensive hashtag, and who in good moods dream of controlling the universe with gay sex and transvestite perverts.
After years listening to frail Senators waste hours asking Comey rambling questions, monitoring the sewer of corruption that is the political establishment without being allowed to cleanse it, surrounded by the preening mediocrities that dominate Washington DC, dealing with high functioning drug addict graduates of “elite” universities, why wouldn’t Comey have thought it right for someone actually talented and disciplined such as himself to become the key player in the Progressive establishment.
Because Comey played the Democrats like a violin as thoroughly as he played every Republican besides the even more devious Trump, we officially declare Comey the Fifth Branch of government which, like the non-Constitutional Fourth Branch (the Bureaucratic Branch), answers to none of the three Constitutionally empowered branches, and only occasionally answers the voicemail of the incompetent Fourth branch.
Yet, for all this, we are still left with no evidence for collusion. And there can be no doubt now that Comey looked far and wide for it.
That leaves only the matter of what to do with the Mueller as special counsel now that it is clear there are only procedural crimes to investigate and no underlying collusion crime to expose.
Gingrich and a number of other Trump “satellites” have called for Mueller’s dismissal and the closing of the special counsel position entirely after Comey admitted he manipulated the appointment of a counsel.
My only hesitation in endorsing the closing down of the special counsel office was the fact Comey admitted he wanted the counsel to be appointed. But why would he admit to it? Is there a way Comey could benefit by having Mueller removed?
For the moment I don’t see the advantage and therefore, with some wariness, am forced to agree with Gingrich.
I also recommend Trump pardon Flynn pre-emptively to close down the possibility of any obstruction of justice case being brought against Trump by whatever FBI agents take over management of the case from Mueller.
I recommend Trump justify this decision as follows:
- Since Comey admitted there was no collusion, there is no reason (as Powerline argues) for the special counsel position to exist when Congress and the FBI can handle the loose ends of the case (“What was Comey investigating if he testified I am innocent of collusion!” “Waste of time now that Comey closed out the collusion investigation and testified I am innocent of collusion!” “Comey is STRANGE to keep investigating collusion he admitted did not happen!“)
- And, finally, given Mueller and Comey’s close personal and professional relationship Mueller’s appointment violates DoJ guidelines for avoiding conflicts of interest (thanks, again, to Powerline)
In any case, it seems to me that Comey has a specific and substantial interest that likely will be affected by the outcome of the investigation. Mueller may well determine whether Trump is lying, as Comey says, or that Comey is lying, as Trump insists. Comey has a specific and substantial interest in not being found to be a liar.
The next question is whether Mueller has a “close and substantial connection” with Comey “of the type normally viewed as likely to induce partiality?” I think so. As I have argued, they are friends and former colleagues who stood side-by-side in at least one very important legal struggle.
If the requisite personal relationship exists, the question for purposes of removal becomes whether: (1) the relationship will have the effect of rendering Mueller’s service less than fully impartial and professional or (2) Mueller’s participation would create an appearance of a conflict of interest likely to affect the public perception of the integrity of the investigation or prosecution.
Whatever one concludes about the first prong of this test, I think it’s plain that Mueller’s participation in the investigation of “obstruction of justice” would “create an appearance of conflict of interest likely to affect the public perception of the integrity of the investigation.” If Mueller adopts Comey’s version of the facts, large segments of the population will question whether this is an impartial assessment, given his close relationship with Comey.
Mueller could try to avoid this perception by recusing himself from the “obstruction of justice” portion of the investigation. As I have argued, though, that’s the only Trump-related allegation that even arguably requires a “special counsel” to investigate.
Moreover, I agree with the source quoted by Byron York who says Mueller “could announce that the Comey part of the case will be handled by someone else within his office, but that is complex and not very satisfactory.” For one thing, it would leave a prosecutor selected by Mueller in charge of the “obstruction” investigation.
The Rule stipulates that it “pertains to agency management and is not intended to create rights enforceable by private individuals or organizations.” In other words, it’s for the DOJ to make the determinations called for through the normal chain of command.
Thus, Michael Flynn or Jared Kushner, for example, would not be able to enforce the Rule against Mueller. However, President Trump has ultimate “agency management” authority over the Justice Department. Thus, if he finds that the Rule requires Mueller’s removal, he has the right under the Rule to remove him, and should do so.