Patterico's Pontifications


NYT Reporter Lifts Material from Local Reporter then Plays Dumb When Caught

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:59 pm

[guest post by JVW]

As a follow-up to the story last night about GOP House candidate Greg Gianforte of Montana “body-slamming” Guardian reporter Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs during what Gianoforte characterizes as an unwelcome intrusion into a private interview last night, comes some typically douchy behavior from a New York Times reporter. Whitney Bermes of the Daily Chronicle newspaper in Bozeman tweeted out a picture that she took this morning when the citation issued to Gianforte. The link to the tweet is in the proceeding sentence, and I’ll attach an image here in case the tweet has trouble embedding:

Bermes tweet

And then, a mere 44 minutes later, Jonathan Martin of the NYT sent out this tweet:

Martin tweet

Note the tone of accomplishment in Martin’s tweet: “I’ve obtained a copy. . . ” He makes it sound as if he was doing good old-fashioned shoe-leather journalism and hanging out at the police station asking all the right questions and uncovering every lead. But don’t the two photos there look awfully similar, and by “similar” I mean one and the same? Note how the redacted information is the same as well as the shadow on the document from the person who snapped the photo. This coincidence was not lost on Ms. Bermes who had the following exchange with Martin:

Bermes-Martin exhange

Twitter reaction is overwhelmingly critical of Martin and supportive of Ms. Bermes, and it would appear that all of the big poo-bah media watchers have been alerted to this. I don’t think I would want to be in Jonathan Martin’s shoes right now. It will be interesting to see what if any censure he might face from his employer.

But just another reason to distrust Big Media.

[Cross-posted at the Jury Talks Back.]


Under President Obama, NSA Routinely Violated American Privacy Protections

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:03 am

[guest post by Dana]

You would think this would be a big deal, but when a quick Google search doesn’t pull up any reporting from major media outlets about it, maybe we’re not supposed to believe that the violation of Americans’ civil liberties is that big of a deal.

The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community.

More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm. Trump was elected less than two weeks later.

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.

Officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimization rule changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.

The intelligence court and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true.

(Imagine Susan Rice’s claims being deemed untrue.)

And from the ACLU:

The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself and safeguard American’s privacy as guaranteed by the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure.

“I think what this emphasizes is the shocking lack of oversight of these programs,” said Neema Singh Guliani, the ACLU’s legislative counsel in Washington.

P.S. This report claims that the three major networks did not report on this during their evening broadcasts when the report was released.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Reporter For The Guardian Alleges He Was Body Slammed By GOP Running For Montana House Seat (Update Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:09 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Late this afternoon, Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs tweeted that he had been “body slammed” by Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate running for Montana’s House seat in tomorrow’s special election:


Audio of the incident was provided to the Guardian:

From the report:

Ben Jacobs, a Guardian political reporter, was asking Greg Gianforte, a tech millionaire running for the seat vacated by Ryan Zinke, about the Republican healthcare plan when the candidate allegedly “body-slammed” the reporter.

“He took me to the ground,” Jacobs said by phone from the back of an ambulance. “This is the strangest thing that has ever happened to me in reporting on politics.”

Jacobs subsequently reported the incident to the police. The Gallatin County sheriff’s office is investigating.

Shane Scanolon, spokesman for Gianforte’s campaign, released this statement:


Here is a clearer version of Scanlon’s statement:

“Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg’s face, and began asking badgering questions,” Scanlon said. “Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg’s wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It’s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.”

A BuzzFeed News reporter in the immediate vicinity of where the incident took place, was able, at least in part, to confirm Jacobs’ account:

Jacobs’s account was partially confirmed by BuzzFeed News reporter Alexis Levinson, who wrote on Twitter that she had been in an adjacent room during the incident.

“This happened behind a half closed door, so I didn’t see it all, but here’s what it looked like from the outside – Ben walked into a room where a local tv crew was set up for an interview with Gianforte. All of a sudden I heard a giant crash and saw Ben’s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor. Heard very angry yelling (as did all the volunteers in the room) – sounded like Gianforte…”

She later tweeted:

[B]efore the incident, she overheard Gianforte’s staff telling Jacobs that the campaign was upset with the Guardian’s previous reporting and that the candidate would likely not have time to talk to him. Jacobs then entered the side room to try to talk to Gianforte.

Fox News is reporting a firsthand eyewitness account of the incident by veteran Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, who was there with field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey to interview Gianforte:

As the time for the interview neared, Gianforte came into the room. We exchanged pleasantries and made small talk about restaurants and Bozeman.

During that conversation, another man — who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian — walked into the room with a voice recorder, put it up to Gianforte’s face and began asking if him if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act. Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.

At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of “I’m sick and tired of this!”

Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. He then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.

Acuna also confirms that at no time did Jacobs “show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte.”

You can watch the Montana Sheriff’s office address the matter here. Due to it being an active investigation, the Sheriff’s office spokesman provided little information other than deputies responded to an allegation of an assault, they interviewed Gianforte and other individuals present in the room at the time. No confirmation as to whether charges will be filed. Also, no comment on whether this will have any impact on the special election. There is also no evidence or knowledge about video of the incident.

According to Dave Weigel, supporters for Gianforte’s opponent in the race, Democrat Rob Quist, are now playing audio for voters as they canvas the area. I just bet they are.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


UPDATE: Greg Gianforte has been charged with misdemeanor assault.

Today’s CBO Report

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:43 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Fresh post needed, so very pressed for time…

Today the Congressional Budget Office released an updated score for the American Health Care Act, which I believe very few on the right are really happy about as it is nowhere near the promised full-repeal of Obamacare. However, if you read big media outlets, the CBO news is not just bad – it’s dire. That’s because everyone from Sen. Elizabeth Warren to Business Insider to NPR to the New York Times to the Washington Post are focused on a specific claim that the plan would leave an additional 23 million people uninsured.

Over at the Daily Wire, readers are provided with a bit of clarification about the 23 million number being bandied about, as well as offering some good news in the midst of the bad.

First off, it’s important to know that the CBO is measuring its estimated number of insured against the flawed March 2016 estimates; as Phil Kerpen points out, the CBO itself “acknowledged” that they were off by 5 million people in that estimate.


It’s also worthwhile noting here that the number of uninsured would grow because most people would stop buying insurance without the threat of government fine; the study also considers those who buy certain types of catastrophic insurance “uninsured.” Still, the CBO estimates that by 2026, “an estimated 51 million people under age 65 would be uninsured.”

A little good news:

The AHCA Would Lower The Deficit. According to the CBO:

[O]ver the 2017-2026 period, enacting H.R. 1628 would reduce direct spending by $1,111 billion and reduce revenues by $992 billion, for a net reduction of $119 billion in the deficit over that period. The provisions dealing with health insurance coverage would reduce the deficit, on net, by $783 billion; the noncoverage provisions would increase the deficit by $664 billion, mostly by reducing revenues.

In short, the government would spend less money on Medicaid grants, but the spending to reduce premiums would count against those savings, as well as loss of revenue from fines (good) and repeal of taxes (also good).

Final thoughts:

[T]he bill is revenue neutral, so it can be passed through reconciliation. It gives both sides their talking points: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) is already touting the statement that premiums could drop and that it will save the government money; Democrats are already touting the drop in number covered as well as the possible effects on the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Not much has changed here. But both sides will now retrench politically as the Senate considers moving forward.

Read the whole thing here.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)



Round-Up of Opinion, Post-Manchester

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:04 pm

[guest post by JVW]

In the aftermath of yesterday’s horrible bombing at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, plenty of polemicists have weighed in with their opinions. As usual, some of it is insightful and excellent, and some of it is, naturally, sheer dreck. Here are some of the most compelling things I have read on the matter today:

Bruce Bawer in City Journal:

London mayor Sadiq Khan (who recently dismissed terrorist attacks as “part and parcel of living in a big city”): “London stands with Manchester.” Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer (who, in the wake of the Pulse nightclub massacre, proclaimed a CAIR-backed “Muslim Women’s Day”—you know, the kind of event that proclaims hijabs “empowering”): Orlando “stands in solidarity with the people of the UK.” L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti (who went berserk when Trump tried to impose that temporary travel ban from a half-dozen Muslim countries): “Los Angeles stands with the people of Manchester.”

Meaningless words, all of them. But Angela Merkel takes the cake: “People in the UK can rest assured that Germany stands shoulder to shoulder with them.” Well, isn’t that . . . reassuring. In what way do such words help anybody to “rest assured” of anything? In any case, how dare she? This, after all, is the woman who opened the floodgates—the woman who, out of some twisted sense of German historical guilt, put European children in danger by inviting into the continent masses of unvetted people from the very part of the world where this monstrous evil has its roots.

Brendan O’Neill at Spiked:

After the terror, the platitudes. And the hashtags. And the candlelit vigils. And they always have the same message: ‘Be unified. Feel love. Don’t give in to hate.’ The banalities roll off the national tongue. Vapidity abounds. A shallow fetishisation of ‘togetherness’ takes the place of any articulation of what we should be together for – and against. And so it has been after the barbarism in Manchester. In response to the deaths of more than 20 people at an Ariana Grande gig, in response to the massacre of children enjoying pop music, people effectively say: ‘All you need is love.’ The disparity between these horrors and our response to them, between what happened and what we say, is vast. This has to change.

David French in National Review Online:

[. . .] After the [post 9/11] implementation of the (now) much-derided Bush strategy [of homeland security], there were a grand total of 27 terror attacks and plots — almost all of them foiled.

After the end of the Bush administration, the numbers skyrocketed, with 68 plots or attacks recorded since. A number of them, including the Fort Hood shooting, the Boston Marathon bombing, the San Bernardino mass murder, and the Orlando nightclub massacre, have been terrifying successful. Indeed, there have been more domestic terror plots and attacks since the rise of ISIS in the summer of 2014 than there were in the entirety of the Bush administration after 9/11. And make no mistake, jihadist terrorists are disproportionately immigrants and children of immigrants.

What did Bush do that was so successful? He not only pressed military offensives in the heart of the Middle East, he fundamentally changed the American approach to immigration and implemented a number of temporary measures that, for example, dramatically decreased refugee admissions and implemented country-specific protective measures that have since been discontinued.

Mark Steyn at Steyn Online:

One thinks of the famous scene in one of the most famous of the Carry On comedies, Carry On Up The Khyber, surely the most insightful film ever made about Afghanistan: as you’ll recall, the revolting Khasi of Khalabar grows ever more enraged at the British Governor’s refusal to let the shelling and destruction of Government House disrupt his dinner party. Even when the Khasi has the main course replaced with the head of a decapitated fakir, Her Majesty’s viceroy declines to let his eye be caught by these vulgar attention-seeking jihadists. The film received unenthusiastic reviews from London critics in 1968. One would not have predicted that half-a-century later it would be official British policy on the home front.

Easier said than done, alas. A couple of hours ago, as I write, the Arndale shopping center in Manchester was evacuated, somewhat chaotically, with hundreds of customers stampeding for the exits lest they be the cause of The Independent’s next carry-on editorial. The Arndale was the scene of the last big terror attack – in 1996, when the IRA totaled it. Two hundred people were injured, but nobody died, and you don’t have to be a terror apologist like Jeremy Corbyn to find the bad old days of Irish republicanism almost quaint by comparison. A few weeks ago the BBC reported that “approximately 850 people” from the United Kingdom have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for Isis and the like. That’s more volunteers than the IRA were able to recruit in thirty years of the “Troubles”, when MI5 estimated that they never had more than a hundred active terrorists out in the field. This time maybe it’s the exotic appeal of foreign travel, as opposed to a month holed up in a barn in Newry.

If you only have time to read one of these in full, read Steyn. Brilliant as always, he traces the evolution of the targets of Jihadist attacks from Jews and other religious figures, who rouse only minor and superficial sympathy in our secularist age; to symbols of national pride, which are really ho-hum in our contemporary one-world delusions; to consumerism and popular culture, which may finally force us to take notice, or at least make a more strenuous effort to ignore.

And, of course, feel free to share interesting and insightful reflections that you come across.

[Cross-posted at the Jury Talks Back.]



At Least 20 Dead In England, Incident Being Treated As “Possible Terrorist Incident” (Updates Added)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:15 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Multiple news outlets are reporting:

At least 20 people were killed and possibly “hundreds” of others were injures after one or more loud bangs were heard Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena in England, multiple law enforcement told NBC News.

Law enforcement sources in both Britain and the United States told NBC News there were possibly two explosions. There was no immediate information on what kind of explosions occurred, and the sources stressed that the information was preliminary and subject to change.

Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.

According to Mark White, Sky News’ Home Affairs Correspondent, the incident at the Manchester Arena is being treated by law enforcement as a “possible terrorist incident”.

From an eyewitness:

Majid Khan, 22, said: ‘I and my sister, along with a lot of others were seeing Ariana Grande perform at Manchester Arena, and we were all exiting the venue when around 10.40-10,45pm-ish a huge bomb-like bang went off that hugely panicked everyone and we were all trying to flee the arena.

‘It was one bang and essentially everyone from the other side of the arena where the bang was heard from suddenly came running towards us.

‘Everyone was in a huge state of panic, calling each other as some had gone to the toilet whilst this had gone off, so it was just extremely disturbing for everyone there.’

Also, according to a concert attendee who was spoke to The Daily Mail, there were lots of children and families at the show.

Updates here.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


UPDATE 1: CBS News is reporting that the injuries were consistent with shrapnel and that there are indications that nail bombs were used:

The bombs seemed to have contained nails, and that “forms of shrapnel from this explosion have been injuring people.

UPDATE 2: NBC News is reporting that:

Multiple U.S. officials say UK authorities’ forensic evidence indicates incident at Manchester Arena was a suicide attack.

UPDATE 3: ISIS has claimed responsibility for the bombing. and A statement was released, saying that “a “caliphate soldier managed to place a number of devices among a gathering of crusaders in Manchester, and detonated them.”

UPDATE 4: Salmon Ramadan Abedi has been identified as the bomber. He was reportedly laready known to British authorities.

UPDATE 5: According to CBS News this morning, the death toll has raised to 29, with 59 people injured.

Note: There is a piece in The Independent this morning with the headline, “There’s only one way Britain should respond to attacks such as Manchester. That is by carrying on exactly as before.” For the parents of 8 year old Saffie Rose Roussos, who was one of the victims in the terrorist attack, it will be impossible to carry on as before.

And there is this from the linked piece:

But if the intention of those who commit acts of terror is to disrupt ordinary life, then the only possible response is not to let that happen. That is not to say police should not track down who was responsible for such vile murder. That is not to say the security services should not step up their efforts and do all they can to stop a repeat of such slaughter.

Nor is it about what lots of Britons like to call the Dunkirk spirit, or about showing a stiff upper lip.

Rather, it is a merely an assessment of the options that are available to us, the ordinary people, those without superhuman powers.

We’re not actually equipped to do that much at all, other than to try to carry on, to not allow ourselves to be terrorised, to not stop living our lives. And that means means continuing with the general election May felt obliged to call, or keep on buying tickets to see the likes of Ariana Grande.

If the horror that played out in the aftermath of the 23-year-old singer’s concert inspires us all to do that, then she would indeed deserve the name dangerous woman.


Source: Flynn to Take the Fifth

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:34 am

It’s based on an anonymous source, so take it for what it’s worth, which may be nothing:

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination on Monday as he notifies the Senate Intelligence committee that he will not comply with a subpoena seeking documents.

That’s according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private interactions between Flynn and the committee.

Everyone who said it was no big deal when Lois Lerner took the Fifth will make a big thing out of this.

And everyone who made a big thing out of Lois Lerner doing it will say this is no big deal.

Taking the Fifth does not make a person guilty. In the criminal context it means nothing. In a civil context, or the context of testifying before Congress, one can draw an adverse inference. But in a situation like this one (or with Lerner) where any competent lawyer would advise you to take it, it makes little sense to read too much into it.

Maybe Flynn can make a big speech about how he didn’t do anything wrong and then take the Fifth. After Lerner’s stunt along those lines, there is precedent for it.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


Trump, Comey, Russia And A “Significant Person Of Interest” Is Identified

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:53 pm

[guest post by Dana]

According to The New York Times:

President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

The conversation, during a May 10 meeting — the day after he fired Mr. Comey — reinforces the notion that Mr. Trump dismissed him primarily because of the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives. Mr. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing.

The White House document that contained Mr. Trump’s comments was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.

(On a side note, has the current trend of unnamed officials reading extremely sensitive, and possibly damaging documents over the phone to major media news outlets become the new norm in political reporting by those who claim to adhere to the highest of journalistic standards?)

Also breaking, from the Washington Post:

The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

The revelation comes as the investigation also appears to be entering a more overtly active phase, with investigators shifting from work that has remained largely hidden from the public to conducting interviews and using a grand jury to issue subpoenas. The intensity of the probe is expected to accelerate in the coming weeks, the people said.

The sources emphasized that investigators remain keenly interested in people who previously wielded influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Flynn resigned in February after disclosures that he had lied to administration officials about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Current administration officials who have acknowledged contacts with Russian officials include Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Cabinet members Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Further down in the report, the focus turns to Jared Kushner:

The White House also has acknowledged that Kushner met with Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., in late November. Kushner also has acknowledged that he met with the head of a Russian development bank, Vnesheconombank, which has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014. The president’s son in law initially omitted contacts with foreign leaders from a national security questionnaire, though his lawyer has said publicly he submitted the form prematurely and informed the FBI soon after he would provide an update.

Vnesheconombank handles development for the state, and in early 2015, a man purporting to be one of its New York-based employees was arrested and accused of being an unregistered spy.

That man – Evgeny Buryakov – ultimately pleaded guilty and was eventually deported.

For an insightful look at the term, “person of interest” that is used in this Washington Post report, follow this great thread here at Popehat, who right off the bat, observes:

“Person of interest” is a deliberately ambiguous term, evasive. WaPo reporters are smart and know that. Yet they don’t comment on it.


Anthony Weiner To Plead Guilty

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:52 am

[guest post by Dana]

This morning’s New York Times reports:

Mr. Weiner will plead guilty to a single charge of transferring obscene material to a minor, pursuant to a plea agreement with the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, one of the people said. Mr. Weiner surrendered to the F.B.I. early Friday morning.

The plea covers conduct by Mr. Weiner from January through March of last year, the person said. A likely result of the plea is that Mr. Weiner would end up as a registered sex offender, although a final determination has yet to be made, the person added.

The charge carries a potential sentence of between zero and 10 years in prison, meaning Mr. Weiner could avoid prison. The ultimate sentence would be determined by a judge.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Always trust content from Patterico.


President Trump Today: Potential Charges Or Impeachment “Totally Ridiculous”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:08 pm

[guest post by Dana]

After tweeting early this morning that “this is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!,” President Trump said at a press conference this afternoon that he had not asked James Comey to “end his investigation into Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign”:

“Well, I respect the move but the entire thing has been a witch hunt,” Trump said when asked about the investigation. “There is no collusion between certainly myself and my campaign. But I can always speak for myself and the Russians, zero. I think it divides the country, I think we have a very divided country because of that and many other things. So I can tell you that we want to bring this great country of ours together.”

Trump called talk of potential criminal charges or impeachment “totally ridiculous.”

He also said he thought that Comey’s firing would be bipartisan.

“I think it is totally ridiculous. Everyone thinks so,” he said when asked whether he ever thought he did something recently that merited criminal charges or impeachment.

“Director Comey was very unpopular with most people,” he said. “I actually thought when I made that decision, and I also got a very, very strong recommendation, as you know, from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. When I made that decision I actually thought it would be a bipartisan decision because you look at all of the people on the Democratic side, not only the Republican side, that were saying such terrible thing about Director Comey.”

Meanwhile, there is a video clip making the rounds today of James Comey testifying that he had never been “told to stop” an FBI investigation for political reasons:


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