Patterico's Pontifications

4/13/2018

Friday Round-Up Concerning President Trump

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:27 am

[guest post by Dana]

Limited time here, so a quick round-up of items in the news today concerning President Trump:

1) Predictably, President Trump lashed out at former FBI Director James Comey, in advance of his memoir’s release. Excerpts from Comey’s book are already online:

Untitled2

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2) President Trump is considering (at this time) a pardon for Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff. It would follow his pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. And it should be noted that, at this point in time there are reportedly no plans by the White House to pardon anyone snared in the Russia investigation.

Ed Morrissey considers the “why now” question:

…Trump no doubt sees a Libby pardon as a cost-free warning shot across Robert Mueller’s bow, a reminder that the president can start issuing pardons to anyone caught in a perjury trap, especially on tangential issues. It’s certainly going to give Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos some food for thought. Rick Gates would face a raft of state charges even if pardoned by Trump on the federal charges relating to his business dealings with Paul Manafort, so it probably won’t upset the incentives in place there. However, that case so far has nothing to do with Trump anyway.

Why now, though? The Washington Post suggests that it might have something to do with the influx of some new faces in the White House:

“Other Bush loyalists also expressed their frustration — including a number who are now in Trump’s orbit.

“Somebody’s going to have to ask President Bush why he went out of his way to say he respected the jury’s verdict,” John R. Bolton, Bush’s UN ambassador and Trump’s new national security adviser, said at the time. “If you think it was a miscarriage of justice, then you think it shouldn’t have gone to a jury to begin with.”

Alan Dershowitz, a vocal Trump defender on cable television, also pushed Libby’s appellate cause, calling his appeals “serious and substantial” and filing a brief in 2007 asking for Libby to be granted bail pending his appeal.

Victoria Toensing and Joe DiGenova, the husband and wife attorney team Trump considered hiring earlier this year, are also vocal Libby backers.

When Libby got his law license back in 2016, DiGenova told the Daily Caller: “Comey and Fitzgerald tried to frame Scooter Libby, and they did, but then they didn’t get it done. And then of course that idiot George W. Bush didn’t give him a pardon he only commuted his sentence.”

It’s all… so interesting:

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3) Republican Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) opines in the Washington Post that everyone benefits from protecting Mueller – even Trump:

I believe in the rule of law, regardless of who occupies the White House or which party leads the Justice Department. That is why in August I introduced a bill to create a judicial-review process to prevent the removal of a special counsel without good cause.

Over the past several months, Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and I have been working with Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who introduced a similar bill, to reconcile the differences between the two proposals. This week, we introduced the compromise, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act .

Letting his investigation run its course is in the best interest of the country, and it is the only option to ensure that the American people have trust in the process. This is critically important because it means when the investigation concludes, our country can move forward together. Our bill will help ensure that happens.

Tillis explains how special-counsel legislation would actually protect the President:

First, if the president actually removes the special counsel without good cause, it would likely result in swift, bipartisan backlash and shake the country’s faith in the integrity of our legal system. Talking heads and pundits on television encouraging the president to make such a drastic and counterproductive move most certainly do not have his best interests at heart. The result would not be good for the American people, the Republican Party or the president.

Second, the constant headlines and rumors that Trump is considering or has considered removing Mueller — “fake news” or not — are a distraction from the president’s agenda and successful policy initiatives. While the president is understandably frustrated with the investigation, I don’t believe he would ultimately remove Mueller, and the White House and the president’s legal team have indicated that he does not intend to do so. This bill becoming law would remove that narrative from the conversation.

4) Finally, there is a newly launched non-profit group, Republicans for the Rule of Law, headed by Bill Kristol and involving other noted Republicans who want to make sure the investigation continues, and that Mueller not be fired:

Republicans for the Rule of Law is a coalition of Republicans who believe the Special Counsel’s investigation should be completed without political interference. We represent the majority of Republicans who believe Robert Mueller should not be fired.

Kristol himself said:

Republicans should not hesitate to defend the rule of law, nor should they equivocate in doing so. We hope to encourage more of them to get out of a defensive crouch, step up to the plate and swing the bat on behalf of the principles of our constitutional democracy.

Amusingly, the group bought a 30 second spot on Fox and Friends (reputed to be Trump’s favorite show) and ran an ad in the Washington D.C. area supporting the special counsel.

Have a great weekend.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

46 Responses to “Friday Round-Up Concerning President Trump”

  1. I suspect, when considering the population at large, that only a small percentage of people even care about these issues. Unless it’s salacious and involves specifics about porn actresses or Playboy models, most people yawn.

    Dana (023079)

  2. this post should rally and encourage the fascists nicely good work

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  3. Tapper, Tapper, Tapper — Google is your friend, when your memory is so very bad (Libby wasn’t prosecuted for leaking; no one was prosecuted for leaking).

    Beldar (fa637a)

  4. 2) I would find it utterly fascinating if the President pardons Libby and announces it as follows: Given that we now live in a Washington climate where your chances of being prosecuted are directly related to whether or not your investigators agree with your politics and whether or not you have influential people in the unelected bureaucracy protecting your interests, I have decided that Mr. Libby’s transgressions in providing testimony under oath are no worse than those of other more prominent political figures who managed to escape his fate. I therefore pardon him.

    JVW (42615e)

  5. Dana, I don’t think you are encouraging fascists with this post. But I am not surprised by the accusation. I am guessing that the vast majority of people here would agree with me on these two points.

    Thanks for taking the time to write your point of view clearly, politely, and with fairness. Even when I don’t agree with you, I appreciate the way in which you make your points, with honesty and honor.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  6. ohnoes will ferrell death watch

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  7. Heh. I just read the comment, Simon Jester. Encouraging fascists, eh? That’s rich. Being pressed for time, I simply pulled an assortment of commentary, and intentionally presented it in a neutral fashion. Yet hopefully, in such a manner that any of it can be a stepping-off point to discussion.

    Dana (023079)

  8. how special-counsel legislation would actually protect the President

    primarily i think if you reset the process with a new fascist inquisitor they will have every excuse to slow walk this until the end of President Trump’s second term

    not that herr mueller doesn’t seem bent on doing that, but at least he can be criticized for doing so

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  9. everyone benefits from protecting Mueller – even Trump

    what’s also interesting is that in typical unamerican nazi logic no mention gets made about how the law Tillis and Lindsey Graham want to do is blatantly unconstitutional

    so does everyone really benefit by pissing on the worthless failmerican constitution some more is the question

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  10. It is very hard to understand how Richard Armitage was not prosecuted over Valerie Plame, but Scooter Libby was. And Jake Tapper….be-clowns himself. Hot takes are rarely worth the electrons.

    The main problem with Comey is he really does see himself as some sort of hero here.

    One would think Congress would show a little humility after their disastrous meetings with Mick Mulvaney this week. Sure they are comedy gold, and the ultimate manifestation of “I told you so”, but still…

    I’d prefer they ditch the special prosecutor all together. “Besides weakening the presidency … it must also be obvious that the institution of the independent counsel enfeebles him … nothing is so politically effective as … to charge that one’s opponent and his associates are … crooks. The present statute provides ample means for that sort of attack, assuring that massive and lengthy investigations will occur….” Scalia

    Cassandra (a815b9)

  11. JVW, you make a strong point. I well remember the Marc Rich pardon, and how the Left defended that.

    I dislike the “the other side does it too” approach, but something needs to be done. I believe that most Americans like the idea of fairness, no matter how it has been co-opted by profoundly unfair individuals in our weird society.

    Simon Jester (c8876d)

  12. nothing is so politically effective as … to charge that one’s opponent and his associates are … crooks

    herr mueller goes well beyond that

    he uses his fbi gestapo to create the very realistic prospect that anyone who chooses to serve in this administration could find themselves destitute if not wholly deprived of their freedom

    this is how the nazis go about things

    and it’s of course they who benefit most from a neutral appraisal of their handiwork

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  13. Tapper is still working? How pathetic.

    mg (9e54f8)

  14. Reports: Will Ferrell escapes injury in car crash

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  15. But speaking of books, I thought high-level government officials like Comey were not supposed to publish kiss-and-tell tomes like this what seems like minutes after leaving their position. It was contractually prohibited. Or was that just the CIA? Whatever the case, it’s more than unseemly. It’s repugnant. The publication of this book is just one more indication, as if we needed one, that the FBI is a rancid, corrupt organization that should be disbanded.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  16. It seems Bill Kristol stepped up to the plate in 2006 and smacked a homer against the Rule of Law:

    “You know, the leak story is absurd, but I now think the whole prosecution is absurd. And I have hesitated to say this, because I have friends who respect Fitzgerald, but I now think it’s a politically motivated attempt to wound the Bush administration. … He is now out to discredit the Bush administration. “

    From ThinkProgress trash, but the video is linked:
    https://thinkprogress.org/video-kristol-launches-right-wing-attack-on-fitzgerald-8ad6143eea6c/amp/

    random viking (6a54c2)

  17. 1) Predictably, President Trump lashed out at former FBI Director James Comey, in advance of his memoir’s release.

    Really, “lashed out?” I suppose Comey’s book is objective, measured and restrained.

    I just love how you see the media use words like “attack” and “lashed out” when Republicans present a position.

    I heard that Comey attacks Trump’s tie length, small hands and face color. That’s really getting to the point.

    AZ Bob (9a6ada)

  18. Kiss-and-tell books like Comey’s theoretically have to be approved by the FBI before they are released as a function of Comey’s contract of employment – even after he is released from duty. The FBI has a group which scans them for classified information and then decides what to redact or disallow or require edits.

    In the past they’ve disallowed entire books that did not reflect well upon them and had to be taken to court for several years to prove that there was no classified information within and to get the book published.

    It would have been standard for Comey’s book to get a blanket deny and ‘take me to court’ from Sessions, but rules are different for Democrats.

    Ingot (e5bf64)

  19. (Libby wasn’t prosecuted for leaking; no one was prosecuted for leaking).

    Yes, and it was Richard Armitage who leaked to Novak. Several others, including Karl Rove, confirmed this information to Novak. Armitage’s leak ws determined to be “inadvertent” and therefore not a crime.

    Libby leaked to Judith Miller AFTER Novak already had the info, and may have been authorized to do so by W. Then he lied about it, which is what he was prosecuted for.

    Kevin M (752a26)

  20. Armitage’s leak ws determined to be “inadvertent” and therefore not a crime.

    not a crime yet cowardly pentagon piggy Colon Powell nevertheless felt it best not to mention it

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  21. Bill Kristol in 2005:

    “It is fundamentally inappropriate to allow the criminal law to be used to resolve what is basically a policy and political dispute within the administration, or between the administration and its critics. One trusts that the special counsel will have the courage after conducting his exhaustive investigation to reject inappropriate criminal indictments if the evidence does not require them, no matter how much criticism he might then get from the liberal establishment that yearns to damage the Bush administration through the use of the criminal law.“

    https://www.weeklystandard.com/william-kristol/fitzgeralds-moment

    random viking (6a54c2)

  22. 1) Predictably, President Trump lashed out at former FBI Director James Comey, in advance of his memoir’s release.

    Really, “lashed out?” I suppose Comey’s book is objective, measured and restrained.

    I just love how you see the media use words like “attack” and “lashed out” when Republicans present a position.

    I heard that Comey attacks Trump’s tie length, small hands and face color. That’s really getting to the point.

    AZ Bob (9a6ada) — 4/13/2018 @ 9:47 am

    Hi AZ Bob,

    As with Wolff’s book, President Trump is working to sell more copies for Comey by publicly spouting off. He also will continue to keep it in the news cycle. Further, as with Wolff’s book, I don’t find much that Comey has to say worth reading, but the fact that the president is kicking and screaming about it signals to many that there may sbstance to what is being claimed. My point is, there has got to be a smarter way for the president to push back, and unfortunately, given that he is his own worst enemy and will not listen to those with more savvy about fighting such battles, he appears small and petty. Certainly not his intent, I’m sure.

    Fair or not, Comey, like Wolff, knows how to effectively push this president’s buttons. How Trump publicly responds – or doesn’t – will determine how long the media focuses on it.

    Dana (023079)

  23. How Trump publicly responds – or doesn’t – will determine how long the media focuses on it.

    the entire media campaign for this fascist fbi propaganda effort has been planned and booked for over a month

    President Trump has no control over how long this campaign runs

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  24. “A representative for Ferrell told TMZ on Friday morning that the actor did not suffer significant injury and had been released from a hospital.”

    harkin (607a84)

  25. How Trump publicly responds – or doesn’t – will determine how long the media focuses on it.

    Yeah, if only Trump pretended it wasn’t there, the media would totally ignore it.

    random viking (6a54c2)

  26. so there was injury not significant injury

    i just heard yesterday about carrie underwood’s face

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  27. “One could argue that by getting into the kind of political food fight that James Comey has done more damage to his own reputation than he has to President Trump’s.”

    having womanish jim comey as the face of the FBI gestapo for a few weeks isn’t gonna hurt President Trump a bit

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  28. oh so Scooter was pardoned

    yay!

    there is also justice in this land

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  29. Rawhide Roundup

    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Roundup
    Keep rollin’, rollin’, rollin’
    Though their brains are swollen
    Keep them blogposts rollin’, roundup
    Through laughs, hot wind and blather
    Light as a feather
    Wishin’ for once we’d get teh truth
    All the things we’re missin’
    Down our backs they’re pissin’
    In teh Pool of Life there floats a Baby Ruth

    Move ’em on, head ’em up
    Head ’em up, move ’em on
    Move ’em on, head ’em up, roundup
    Cut ’em out, ride ’em in
    Ride ’em in, cut ’em out
    Cut ’em out, ride ’em in, roundup

    Keep movin’, movin’, movin’
    Though they’re disapprovin’
    Keep them blogposts movin’, roundup
    Don’t try to understand ’em
    Just bullschiff, crow, and can ’em
    But notice that dirty risin’ tide
    By my loose calculations
    Jake Tapper ‘jaculations
    Are teh crem de la crem of this sad ride
    Move ’em on, head ’em up
    Head ’em up, move ’em on
    Move ’em on, head ’em up, roundup
    Cut ’em out, ride ’em in
    Ride ’em in, cut ’em out
    Cut ’em out, ride ’em in, roundup
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Rollin’ rollin’ rollin’
    Roundup
    Roundup

    Colonel Haiku (89ebb5)

  30. Congrats Scooter Libby.

    Tapper is a moron and gets the facts wrong as usual.

    NJRob (a0f08c)

  31. Professional leftist propaganda merchants, like Tapper, routinely mislead readers with bogus pronouncements they know are untrue. Scooter Libby didn’t ‘out’ Valerie Plame.

    High level CIA officer and long time KGB mole, Aldrich Ames, did that years before George W Bush was elected and Scooter Libby became VP Dick Chaney’s Chief of Staff.

    That’s why Plame was removed from field assignments and given a desk job in Washington DC. Thanks to the CIA’s traitor, Plame’s usefulness as a secret operative was over, the KGB knew exactly who she was and would have killed her or traded her for one of their captured agents if they ever got their hands on her.

    Ames’ treachery resulted in the torture and death of dozens of US agents and many more foreign double agents responsible for providing invaluable inside information to CIA conduits, the abrupt loss of which crippled the ability of US clandestine services to anticipate and counter enemy operations.

    None of this is unknown to Jake Tapper and his presstitute ilk, they just don’t you to know about it. The 4th Estate is really the 5th Column.

    ropelight (560bda)

  32. yes yes good for Mr. Libby

    it’s just like President Trump to find something good what can come out of this and just do it

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  33. hopefully this is just the start and President Trump pardons anyone and anything herr mueller looks at or anyone the goose-stepping FBI capriciously decides to brutalize next

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  34. Scooter Libby pardon post up.

    Dana (023079)

  35. Back to Comey. Stephanopoulos asked Comey if he told Trump that the peeing-whores story was a product of Democratic opposition research. Sandbagging Comey said he didn’t think it was important.

    AZ Bob (9a6ada)

  36. Finally, there is a newly launched non-profit group, Republicans for the Rule of Law…

    Pathetic.

    And so the party of ‘family values’ ends- in divorce court.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  37. Irredeemable.

    Democrats: the Party of Dubious Values and Destructive Behaviors

    Colonel Haiku (89ebb5)

  38. More 3D chess: Trump calls Michael Cohen today to “check-in.”

    The New York Regency is now a roach motel, Captain, sir?

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  39. @22. Fair or not, Comey, like Wolff, knows how to effectively push this president’s buttons.

    Per the personal excerpts so far revealed, Comey comes off as a bit peevish, if not outright petty, Dana.

    His greatest strength was always his “just the facts, ma’am” approach and delivery at hearings and such. He doesn’t play the victim well and vindictiveness is not his strong point. He’s never going to out-Trump, Trump, in a media cat fight. The six foot, eight inch tall Comey looks small slinging slime.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  40. Mr. Ace has a glorious rejoinder to CNN fake new propaganda slut Jake Tapper’s vomitous hot take above

    Jake Tapper sucks all the c*ck. Not just some of the c*ck. Not just this c*ck or that c*ck.

    No, Jake Tapper sucks *all* of the c*ck.

    that seems fairly comprehensive to me

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  41. Yes, and it was Richard Armitage who leaked to Novak. Several others, including Karl Rove, confirmed this information to Novak. Armitage’s leak ws determined to be “inadvertent” and therefore not a crime.

    Libby leaked to Judith Miller AFTER Novak already had the info, and may have been authorized to do so by W. Then he lied about it, which is what he was prosecuted for.

    Kevin M (752a26) — 4/13/2018 @ 9:48 am

    Nobody leaked anything to anybody. Armitage told Novak that Plame worked for CIA. Libby confirmed to Miller, who already knew, that Plame worked for CIA. Likewise Russert already knew and had confirmed with two independent sources that Plame worked for CIA.

    And the CIA had already publicly revealed that Plame worked for them. By having her commute back and forth to CIA HQ in Langley from her home in Georgetown.

    So there were no secrets to leak. If there ever were since CIA had already blown her cover at least a decade before Libby’s trial by intentionally telling the Swiss who maintained the U.S. Interests section at their embassy in Havana and inadvertently telling the Cubans who intercepted the communique.

    And the CIA knew that the Cubans had intercepted the communication at the time the Cubans intercepted it. Which meant any worthwhile target we would want an undercover agent to spy on already knew, and were pointing their fingers and laughing at her and the CIA in general whenever and wherever she showed up. She might as well have worn a t-shirt with “I’m with stupid” and the arrow pointing to the letters “CIA.”

    I realize3 that then CIA director Michael Hayden publicly maintained that daily CIA HQ commuter Valerie Plame was still undercover but if you’re not brain dead you will understand that’s impossible.

    Hostile actors, even friendly actors, who understand how non-official cover actually works while the Clowns In Action (my more accurate version of what CIA stands for) have assets in place to monitor who works at Langley. Something the CIA apparently can’t grasp. Or think the American public is too stupid to get.

    Steve57 (0b1dac)

  42. Isn’t Tapper wrong? Libby didn’t leak anything. Armitage did.

    Patterico (3f6015)

  43. one of our better intel analysts got to the bottom of it here Mr. Patterico

    The fact that Valerie Plame was a CIA employee was the worst kept secret in Washington. I wouldn’t be shocked if she made the rounds of the Georgetown cocktail party circuit wearing her CIA work badge/ID. She probably wore it into Starbucks on her way to work each morning.

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  44. @ Patterico (#43): Yes, Tapper was wrong (see #3), and indeed, what he tweeted would be defamatory per se but for the fact that Libby is a public figure.

    This is a nontrivial mistake, which as far as I’m aware Tapper hasn’t corrected even though it has caused widespread comment in the blogosphere. I can’t say about the twitterverse, since I won’t go there, but perhaps, since you still do, you can remind him that such mendacity has effectively destroyed the reputation Tapper once had of refusing to be willfully blind to the Left’s BS; now he’s joining its most rabid and dishonest spokesmen, right next to Adam Schiff.

    Or perhaps not. Twitter delenda est.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  45. Tapper gradually walked back his leaking claim over a long series of Tweets, ending with:

    That said, Fitzgerald was not able to get the grand jury to indict on the issue of disclosing information about Plame’s affiliation with the CIA — just the lying about it

    Dave (445e97)

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