Patterico's Pontifications


Mark Meadows: James Comey Was Totally Trying to Hide This Thing He Testified to Under Oath!!!!11!1!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:22 pm

I just about went apoplectic reading a post by John Sexton at Hot Air, titled Rep. Meadows: Comey’s Congressional Testimony At Odds With What He Told IG Horowitz, New Referral Needed:

Just last month IG Horowitz released a report which concluded that former FBI Director James Comey violated bureau policy by treating official records as if they were his personal documents. Today, Horowitz testified before Congress and was asked by Rep. Mark Meadows about some apparent discrepancies between what Comey told the IG during that investigation and what Comey had said during congressional testimony last year. Rep. Meadows said a referral would be forthcoming and Horowitz agreed to look over the information.

“We’ve taken, now, your report and we’ve put it side by side [with] congressional testimony that James Comey made before the joint oversight and judiciary hearing and I’m finding just a number of irregularities,” Meadows said. . . .

. . . .

“I’ll give you one example,” Meadows said. Referring to testimony Comey gave in December of 2018, Meadows continued, “Mr. Gowdy was asking, he said ‘Did you initiate an obstruction of justice investigation based on what the president said?’ It was a very clear question. Mr. Comey said ‘I don’t think so. I don’t recall doing that so I don’t think so.’

However, on page 13 of your IG report, it says that Comey purposefully leaked the memo so that they could have a special counsel appointed to investigate obstruction of justice. So two of those can not be true. They’re at opposite dynamics in terms of what they’re constructing. And we have dozens of examples where that has happened.”

Meadows added, “So we’ll be referring those inconsistencies to you today, Mr. Horowitz, and I think that it’s important that the American people get to look at this.”

The two are not “at opposite dynamics” (whatever the heck that means) and both can be true — and guess what? Comey testified in December 2018 to the precise thing that Meadows is trying to suggest Comey tried to hide:

Mr. Gowdy: Your attorney questioned the relevance of that line of questioning by Mr. Ratcliffe. I want to take another stab at letting you know why we might be interested in it.

It’s been publicly reported, but I’m going to give you a chance to respond to it, that one of the reasons you instructed Professor Richman to provide that memo to the media was to spur the appointment of [a] special counsel. Is that correct or incorrect?

Mr. Comey: Yes, so that — to pursue the tapes.

Mr. Gowdy: Pardon me?

Mr. Comey: To pursue the tapes that President Trump had tweeted at me about. I was worried the Department of Justice, as currently led, would not go after White House tapes and that a special counsel would.

Meadows says this is inconsistent with what Sexton calls other December “testimony” from Comey (actually an interview, which you can read in its entirety here). It’s not. Here’s the full context of the relevant quote from that interview:

Mr. Gowdy: He then returned to the topic of Mike Flynn, saying: Flynn’s a good guy and has been through a lot. He misled the Vice President, but he didn’t do anything wrong in the call. Said: I hope you can see your way clear of letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go. I replied by saying I agree he is a good guy, but said no more.

Have I fairly described that paragraph?

Mr. Comey: Yes. In fact, I think you read it.

Mr. Gowdy: Do the contents of that paragraph, are they sufficient to launch an obstruction of justice investigation?

Mr. Comey: Potentially.

Mr. Gowdy: What part of it potentially could lead to the initiation of an obstruction of justice investigation?

Mr. Comey: The President asking — one interpretation of it is the President asking the FBI to drop a criminal investigation.

Mr. Gowdy: Did you act or fail to act in any way in the Flynn matter because of what the President said to you?

Mr. Comey: Act or fail to act? I didn’t abide this direction. In fact, kept it to a fairly small group in FBI headquarters so it would not have any impact on the investigation.

Mr. Gowdy: But I’m asking you specifically —

Mr. Comey: I took acts — the reason I’m hesitating is I took acts to make sure it had no impact on the investigation.

Mr. Gowdy: I’m with you, but it did not — did his comments prevent you from following the leads that you thought should have been followed?

Mr. Comey: No.

Mr. Gowdy: Did his comments prevent you from taking any act as the Director of the FBI that you thought were warranted by the other fact pattern?

Mr. Comey: No. This had — I did not abide this. And it did not affect the investigation, so far as I’m aware, in any way.

Mr. Gowdy: Did you initiate an obstruction of justice investigation based on what the President said?

Mr. Comey: I don’t think so. I don’t recall doing that, so I don’t think so.

Mr. Gowdy: Would you recall initiating a criminal investigation into the President of the United States?

Mr. Comey: Yes, I’m sorry. I didn’t personally, but I took it also to mean, did anyone else in the FBI open a file with an obstruction heading or something? Not to my knowledge is the answer.

In context, Comey is being asked whether, as the Director of the FBI, he initiated an obstruction of justice investigation based on the President’s comments to the effect that he hoped that Comey would drop the investigation of his former campaign advisor and national security advisor.

And Mark Meadows is trying to say that Comey lied, because as a private citizen he leaked a memo with the hope that it would spur the appointment of a special counsel to investigate obstruction of justice. Which Comey acknowledged in testimony in December 2018.

Meadows’s accusation is reckless, it’s uninformed, and it’s also a word we don’t use in polite company that people used to use to refer to the intellectually disabled. (Some people still do, and some presidential candidates think it’s pretty darned funny.)

It’s the accusation of a partisan hack.

Let the whatabouts and rationalizing begin!

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

Guess Who Is Being Dismissive About Estimated Size Of Crowd At Elizabeth Warren Rally?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 4:24 pm

[guest post by Dana]

This is just so rich coming from President Trump. After all, we’re talking about a president who became obsessed with the size of his inaugural crowd. It was so important to Trump that the crowd size was the largest in inaugural history that Trump sent out spokesman Sean Spicer on his first day of work to accuse the media of inaccurate reporting. Moreover, a government photographer even admitted later that he had cropped out empty spaces in his inauguration photographs so that the crowds would appear larger. Nothing less than the Biggest Crowd Ever would suffice for our new president.

Remember this exchange with David Muir of ABC News:

MUIR: And just before we leave, the President tells us he wants to show us just one more image.

TRUMP: One thing this shows is how far they go over here. Look. Look how far this is. This goes all the way down here. All the way down. Nobody sees that. You don’t see that in the pictures. But when you look at this tremendous sea of love — I call it a sea of love. It’s really something special, that all these people traveled here from all parts of the country, maybe the world, but all parts of the country. Hard for them to get here. Many of these people were the forgotten men and women, many of them. And they loved what I had to say. More importantly, they’re going to love the result.

Anyway, apparently not all seas of love are equal: President Trump dismissed the estimated size of the crowd at Elizabeth’s Warren’s rally in New York City, and followed it up with a “What’s the big deal, anyone can draw a big crowd there” sneer. This really isn’t important news, of course, but it is a reminder of the dishonest, petty narcissism of Trump, and how size continually matters to him. Pot meet kettle:

President Donald Trump on Tuesday dismissed assertions that more than 20,000 people turned out for Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren’s rally in New York on Monday evening, lobbing accusations of crowd-size inflation that have long been leveled at himself.

“Certainly, if I went to Manhattan, if I went there — No. 1, she didn’t have 20,000 people and No. 2, I think anybody would get a good crowd there,” he told reporters on Air Force One, according to a pool report. “I think you have a good crowd there if you don’t even go there, just say you’re going and how many people are in the park.”

Trump did not provide a basis for his claim. The 20,000 estimation for the rally, which packed Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, comes from the Warren campaign, but it does not yet appear to have been corroborated by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The department has said it permitted the event for an audience of up to 10,000.

A little more detail:

“Anybody that can’t get people standing in the middle of Manhattan in the most densely populated area of the country — anybody could do that,” the president said in California to reporters traveling with him. “I think more Democrats should do it. I get these crowds in areas that nobody’s ever seen crowds before. Pretty amazing.

The event is reportedly the largest to date for a Warren appearance. She spoke at the rally, and then stayed after for four hours afterward to take photos with her supporters.


Two Candidates’ Campaigns in Trouble

Filed under: General — JVW @ 12:50 pm

[guest post by JVW]

There is currently no shortage of seriously obnoxious candidates in the Democrat Presidential primary. Even with the departure of the eminently dishonorable Kirsten Gillibrand, a woman who perfectly tailored her deeply-held beliefs to whatever political expediency demanded at any given time, we are still left with a motley assortment of De Blasios, Warrens, Klobuchars, Buttigiegs, Bidens, and the rest: all competing for the title of Wokest of the Woke and finding new ways to have government waste your hard-earned dollars.

But I want to focus this post on two candidates who started with a good deal of promise but have seen their campaigns start to sputter and are trending the wrong direction in recent polls: the one-time leader of the field, socialist wunderrentner Bernard Sanders, everbody’s favorite Marxist crank, and Kamala Harris, whom assorted nitwits (like me) assumed would have special appeal to a party that seemed to be driven by young people and minorities.

Regarding Sanders, Politico (no links for bullies, per site policy) details some of the setbacks that the Vermont Senator has suffered in the past week including a staff reorganization in New Hampshire, a neighboring state in which the old codger has to have a good showing in order to be taken seriously as a contender (despite his staff’s assurances to the contrary), and the surprise annoucement that the Working Families Party who had backed him in 2016 would be shifting their support to his populist rival from the Bay State, Elizabeth Warren. The national polls, which consistently show Dinosaur Joe Biden leading the pack, tend to be evenly divided in the second spot between the two New England Senators, though Lieawatha’s fortunes seem to be rising over the past two months while the Commissar’s standing appears to be slipping. A second-place finish to Warren in New Hampshire five months from now, or, even worse, a third-place finish behind Warren and Biden, would likely turn her into the new populist darling and spell an early end to Comrade Bernie’s second attempt at the big enchilada.

Meanwhile, Kamala Harris’s campaign has failed to catch fire despite the advantages she would appear to have in age, sex, race, and influence of her home state. After zooming up into the mid-teens in polling and finding herself in a solid third or even second position in the polls after the first debate, she has now slipped back into the five percent level, Pete Buttigieg territory, and a significant chasm has opened up between the California Senator and the big three. The Oakland-born, Berkeley-raised, former San Francisco mover and shaker who now officially resides in Los Angeles even finds herself trailing badly in her home state, which will account for 10% of the DNC delegates selected to the Milwaukee nominating convention. It would seem that once you are murdered by My Little Aloha Sweetie, you stay dead.

It’s a long way to February and lots more could happen between now and then to reset this race, but right know I think I would much rather be Elizabeth Warren than I would Kamala Harris or Bernard Sanders.


About Shane Gillis and His Dismissal from SNL

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:57 am

So there’s this fellow Shane Gillis, and unless you have been living under a rock (and if you have been living under rock, do you have an extra room?), you know he was hired as a comedian on the unfunny show Saturday Night Live, and then this tweet happened:

And then he was unhired. Here’s how it’s portrayed at “The Cut”:

Later in the day, however, a clip from Gillis’s podcast, Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast, was surfaced on Twitter by freelance writer and comedy reporter Seth Simons. In it, Gillis and co-host Matt McCusker make a series of racist comments about Chinese people and use racist, mocking accents. Early in the first clip, Gillis says, while referring to Chinatown, “Why do the fucking ch*nks live there?”

That is not true, as anyone who actually watches the clip can see. In response to the podcaster musing on how Chinatown started, and saying: “I wonder how that started. They just built one fucked-up lookin’ building and people were like: ‘All right, no one’s said anything…'” and Gillis responds: “‘let the fuckin’ Chinks live there, huh?'” I put Gillis’s quote inside two sets of quotation marks because Gillis is characterizing/quoting what he thinks people were saying when Chinatown in New York was founded, you know, in the 1800s.

Which is not to say that the “humor” in the clip, which is not my style of humor, does not rely on stereotyping Asians. It does. The two repeatedly mock Asian accents. You can’t do that, unless you’re Donald Trump, in which case it’s OK. Or unless you’re Seth MacFarlane, who does this kind of thing routinely on his show Family Guy.

Hey. Maybe the out-of-work Gillis can get himself a job as a writer on Family Guy.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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