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Tags donald trump , fbi , James Comey , Russia conspiracies , Trump controversies , Trump-Russia connections

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Old 27th June 2017, 09:15 PM   #1
William Parcher
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NYT: How Donald Trump Misunderstood the FBI

I enjoyed reading this well written article from the New York Times. It describes the historically changed relationship between the Presidency and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. It is also as much about other Presidents who have butted up against the FBI as it is about Donald Trump.

Originally Posted by New York Times
Since Watergate, the bureau has come to view itself as an essential, and essentially independent, check on the president...

"I take the president at his word — that I was fired because of the Russia investigation,’’ James Comey, the former F.B.I. director, said in June, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee a month after his abrupt dismissal from his post by the president. Comey was referring to the account Trump gave in an NBC interview on May 11 — and Comey fought back on the rest of the story as Trump told it. Trump, he said, ‘‘chose to defame me and, more importantly, the F.B.I. by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led, that the work force had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.’’

Trump, Comey said, had asked his F.B.I. director for his loyalty — and that seemed to shock Comey the most. The F.B.I.’s stated mission is ‘‘to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States’’ — not to protect the president. Trump seemed to believe Comey was dutybound to do his bidding and stop investigating the recently fired national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. ‘‘The statue of Justice has a blindfold on because you’re not supposed to be peeking out to see whether your patron is pleased or not with what you’re doing,’’ Comey said. ‘‘It should be about the facts and the law.’’

Trump might have been less confused about how Comey saw his job if he had ever visited the F.B.I. director in his office. On his desk, under glass, Comey famously kept a copy of a 1963 order authorizing Hoover to conduct round-the-clock F.B.I. surveillance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was signed by the young attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy, after Hoover convinced John F. Kennedy and his brother that King had Communists in his organization — a reminder of the abuses of power that had emanated from the desk where Comey sat...

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/2...d-the-fbi.html
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Old 28th June 2017, 06:13 AM   #2
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Read on your recommendation and appreciated.
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Old 28th June 2017, 11:11 AM   #3
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Agreed. That was an interesting article and it will be interesting to see how Trump's issues play out.
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Old 28th June 2017, 11:14 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by William Parcher View Post
I enjoyed reading this well written article from the New York Times. It describes the historically changed relationship between the Presidency and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. It is also as much about other Presidents who have butted up against the FBI as it is about Donald Trump.




https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/2...d-the-fbi.html
The article gives trump too much credit, he would have taken the order to investigate King as a sign that Comey new his job was to follow orders no matter how ill conceived.
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Old 28th June 2017, 01:36 PM   #5
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Yep, a good read. Thank you for posting William Parcher

I think these words from a comment by Christine McMc pretty much sums things up

"Donald Trump is repeating the same mistakes other commanders in chief have made, in conflating their agendas and importance with those of the FBI. Little does he seem to understand that even though technically the FBI director serves under Trump, he does not work FOR Donald Trump.

This distinction must hard to comprehend for a man so unqualified for the presidency, so lacking in knowledge of how the government works the way it does and why, and so rooted in being obeyed in family and business matters."
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Old 28th June 2017, 01:56 PM   #6
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What a silly premise for an article.
Since Watergate, the bureau has come to view itself as an essential, and essentially independent, check on the president
This is just wrong. The essential and independent checks on the President are the Legislature and the Courts. The FBI is an executive branch agency. Its agents are agents of the Chief Executive.

And here's Obama's Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, on the subject of loyalty to the President:
I think in the context of senior government positions, I think an anecdote of what I told President-Elect Obama when we had our first meeting. And I said, "You don't know me. Can you trust me? Why do you think you can trust me?" and so on. But at the end, I said, "You can count on me to be loyal to you. I will not leak. I will keep my disagreements with you private. And if I cannot be loyal, I'll leave."
By the time Trump took office, nobody trusted Comey anymore. Democrats and Republicans were taking turns demanding his dismissal. Do you really think Hillary wouldn't have had the exact same conversation about trust and loyalty with Comey, had she won the election? Do you really think she would have wanted him as an "essentially independent check on the president"?
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Old 28th June 2017, 02:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
The article gives trump too much credit, he would have taken the order to investigate King as a sign that Comey new his job was to follow orders no matter how ill conceived.
Trump would wonder on Twitter if Comey was doing his job, keeping tabs on what King is up to... even though a few days later he'd also allow that MLK "has been doing a lot of good work".
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Old 28th June 2017, 02:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
What a silly premise for an article.
Since Watergate, the bureau has come to view itself as an essential, and essentially independent, check on the president
This is just wrong. The essential and independent checks on the President are the Legislature and the Courts. The FBI is an executive branch agency. Its agents are agents of the Chief Executive.

And here's Obama's Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, on the subject of loyalty to the President:
I think in the context of senior government positions, I think an anecdote of what I told President-Elect Obama when we had our first meeting. And I said, "You don't know me. Can you trust me? Why do you think you can trust me?" and so on. But at the end, I said, "You can count on me to be loyal to you. I will not leak. I will keep my disagreements with you private. And if I cannot be loyal, I'll leave."
By the time Trump took office, nobody trusted Comey anymore. Democrats and Republicans were taking turns demanding his dismissal. Do you really think Hillary wouldn't have had the exact same conversation about trust and loyalty with Comey, had she won the election? Do you really think she would have wanted him as an "essentially independent check on the president"?
The FBI is placed under the Judiciary, via the Attorney General.

You may want to read up on the specialties that are agreed to apply to the Judiciary and thereby the FBI.
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Old 28th June 2017, 02:31 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
here's Obama's Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, on the subject of loyalty to the President:
I think in the context of senior government positions, I think an anecdote of what I told President-Elect Obama when we had our first meeting. And I said, "You don't know me. Can you trust me? Why do you think you can trust me?" and so on. But at the end, I said, "You can count on me to be loyal to you. I will not leak. I will keep my disagreements with you private. And if I cannot be loyal, I'll leave."
But what did Gates mean by 'loyalty'? Here's what he said immediately after your selective quote:-
Loyalty means doing what you think is in the best interest of that person as well as the country. And often, that loyalty means telling them things they don't want to hear. It's not being sycophantic, it's not telling them how wonderful they are every day. It's being willing to tell them the days they're not wonderful. And when you think they're making a mistake.
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Old 28th June 2017, 02:51 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by elgarak View Post
The FBI is placed under the Judiciary, via the Attorney General.

You may want to read up on the specialties that are agreed to apply to the Judiciary and thereby the FBI.
Do you mean the justice department? The Judiciary is the court system. The justice department is with the executive and under the authority of the president.
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Old 28th June 2017, 03:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by elgarak View Post
The FBI is placed under the Judiciary, via the Attorney General.
The US Department of Justice is an executive department. The AG is an executive appointee and is a member of the executive cabinet. The FBI is no more a part of the Judiciary branch than is the US Navy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federa..._Investigation
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United...ent_of_Justice
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United...torney_General

Quote:
You may want to read up on the specialties that are agreed to apply to the Judiciary and thereby the FBI.
I welcome any reading material on the topic that you care to cite.
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Old 28th June 2017, 03:28 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
But what did Gates mean by 'loyalty'? Here's what he said immediately after your selective quote:-
Loyalty means doing what you think is in the best interest of that person as well as the country. And often, that loyalty means telling them things they don't want to hear. It's not being sycophantic, it's not telling them how wonderful they are every day. It's being willing to tell them the days they're not wonderful. And when you think they're making a mistake.
Did Comey pledge that kind of loyalty?

And here's what Gates said immediately before your quote:
I will not leak. I will keep my disagreements with you private. And if I cannot be loyal, I'll leave."
Gates also made it clear that loyalty is about trust. In the end, Comey did not pledge the kind of loyalty we assume Trump wanted. He did not pledge the kind of loyalty Gates gave voluntarily. And he had already lost the requisite trust to hold the position.
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Old 28th June 2017, 04:48 PM   #13
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I was not aware that the US Government ran on Personal Loyalty:loyalty not to the office and the Constitution but to the individual. I thought in the US that kind of crap went out with George The Third. Glad to be corrected.
Of couse you would hold the same opinions if the people in question were Democrats.'
Frankly, the long Conservatives continute to blindly defend Trump, the woret it will be for them in the long run. I thnk the idea they can somehow "Control" of "Tame" him lost all reality quite a while ago.
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Old 28th June 2017, 07:05 PM   #14
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The government doesn't run on personal loyalty; neither does it ignore the question of loyalty altogether. I think Secretary Gates got to the heart of the question: It's about trust. And Comey had lost the trust of pretty much everyone by the time Trump was inaugurated.

If Hillary were president, she'd be an idiot to keep Comey around, because of the same trust problem Trump cited as the reason for dismissing him.

It's not about defending Trump, it's about questioning the absurd proposition that the FBI exists as an independent check on the Executive, rather than as an agent of the Executive.

And it's about questioning the blind insistence that "loyalty" is a taboo topic, that only Trump would be horrible enough to raise.
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Old 28th June 2017, 11:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If Hillary were president, she'd be an idiot to keep Comey around, because of the same trust problem Trump cited as the reason for dismissing him.
"If Hillary had ever thought of running for president, she'd be an idiot to use a private email server". So we can all agree that Hillary is an 'idiot'.

And she's not the only one. Remember what Obama said about Bush officials after he was elected?
Obama Won't Prosecute Bush Officials
Quote:
"This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past."
This may be hard for you to believe, but some Democrats are able to put partisanship behind them for the good of the country.

We will never know whether Hillary would have 'kept Comey around' when she became president. But what we do know is that her aides have all stated that firing the director of the FBI to squash an investigation is wrong. So I think it is at least possible that Hillary would have been an 'idiot' and kept him on, particularly if he could justify his actions.

Comey Defends Sending Letter On Clinton Emails
Quote:
Comey said there was “a great debate” at the agency about how to act, and that one of his junior lawyers asked him if he should “consider that what you’re about to do may help elect Donald Trump president.”

“I said thank you for raising that,” Comey went on. “Not for a moment. Because down that path lies the death of the FBI as an independent institution in America. I can’t consider for a second whose political fortunes would be affected in what way. We have to ask yourselves what is the right thing to do and then do that thing.”

And when the 'right thing' is going after Russians agents and anyone associated with them, Hillary would have had a good reason to keep him on. The email thing would be water under the bridge and the FBI's reputation for independence would be preserved. With Comey in charge it would be harder for disaffected Trump supporters to claim 'fake news' when the full extent of Trump's involvement was revealed to the public.
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Last edited by Roger Ramjets; 28th June 2017 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 29th June 2017, 12:04 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
And it's about questioning the blind insistence that "loyalty" is a taboo topic, that only Trump would be horrible enough to raise.
The very fact that loyalty is being debated proves it isn't a taboo topic. The question is not whether government officials should be allowed to give it, but whether the president is right to demand it.

Trump is horrible not because he 'raised the question' but because he is acting like the arch-villain in a Bond movie. Nobody denies the right of leaders to expect a certain amount of loyalty from their staff, and in return we expect that it not be abused. But what Trump is doing goes way beyond that. He is insisting on a blind loyalty no matter how much he abuses it - and any questioning of that "loyalty" is a taboo topic.
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Old 29th June 2017, 10:20 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Roger Ramjets View Post
Trump is horrible not because he 'raised the question' but because he is acting like the arch-villain in a Bond movie. Nobody denies the right of leaders to expect a certain amount of loyalty from their staff, and in return we expect that it not be abused. But what Trump is doing goes way beyond that. He is insisting on a blind loyalty no matter how much he abuses it - and any questioning of that "loyalty" is a taboo topic.
Is that what Trump asked of Comey? "I insist on your blind loyalty no matter how much I abuse it"? Is that what Comey claims Trump said to him?

You don't think Hillary would have had the same trust problems, the same loyalty problems, with Comey, had she taken office?
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Old 29th June 2017, 10:35 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Is that what Trump asked of Comey? "I insist on your blind loyalty no matter how much I abuse it"? Is that what Comey claims Trump said to him?

You don't think Hillary would have had the same trust problems, the same loyalty problems, with Comey, had she taken office?
She wouldn't have fired him over the Russia investigation, like Trump is on record for firing Comey. Why everyone lied and pretended it was about how he violated justice department protocol in an active investigation of a political figure is really strange after trump set the message straight about it. He fired Comey because the russia investigation wasn't being handled fast enough to clear him and everyone involved fast enough.
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Old 29th June 2017, 01:53 PM   #19
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It's difficult for an ego to deal with someone who holds loyalty to a concept in higher regard than loyalty to a personality...

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Old 29th June 2017, 02:30 PM   #20
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James Comey had high concept loyalty. He was a true artiste.
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Old 29th June 2017, 04:07 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
...In the end, Comey did not pledge the kind of loyalty we assume Trump wanted...
Agreed - and neither did Gates!
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Old 29th June 2017, 06:48 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
Agreed - and neither did Gates!
Comey didn't pledge the kind of loyalty Gates approved of, either.
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Old 29th June 2017, 06:59 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
She wouldn't have fired him over the Russia investigation, like Trump is on record for firing Comey. Why everyone lied and pretended it was about how he violated justice department protocol in an active investigation of a political figure is really strange after trump set the message straight about it. He fired Comey because the russia investigation wasn't being handled fast enough to clear him and everyone involved fast enough.
Heh. Given that the Russia story was invented by her campaign team as an excuse for her loss, it probably wouldn't have been an issue if she won. She probably would have fired him for reopening the email case at the last minute and almost costing her the election, though. Talk about not handling an investigation fast enough!

After all, he'd lost the trust of senior Democrats. Do you think he'd have had the trust of President Hillary Clinton? The only reason Democrats liked Comey after Election Day is because they imagined he could do to Trump what they imagined he'd done to Hillary.
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Old 29th June 2017, 07:02 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Heh. Given that the Russia story was invented by her campaign team as an excuse for her loss, it probably wouldn't have been an issue if she won. She probably would have fired him for reopening the email case at the last minute and almost costing her the election, though. Talk about not handling an investigation fast enough!

After all, he'd lost the trust of senior Democrats. Do you think he'd have had the trust of President Hillary Clinton? The only reason Democrats liked Comey after Election Day is because they imagined he could do to Trump what they imagined he'd done to Hillary.
Sorry, but do you seriously believe the highlighted?

In what sense is the Russian story an invention of the Clinton campaign team? For that matter, what do you mean by "the Russian story"? Are you including the claim that Russia interfered in the U.S. election as an invention?
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Old 30th June 2017, 09:52 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
And here's Obama's Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, on the subject of loyalty to the President:
I think in the context of senior government positions, I think an anecdote of what I told President-Elect Obama when we had our first meeting. And I said, "You don't know me. Can you trust me? Why do you think you can trust me?" and so on. But at the end, I said, "You can count on me to be loyal to you. I will not leak. I will keep my disagreements with you private. And if I cannot be loyal, I'll leave."
Gates volunteered his loyalty to Obama. Did Obama ask for it?

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
By the time Trump took office, nobody trusted Comey anymore.
I did and took some flak for defending him when he brought up Hillary's emails again in connection with the Wiener investigation. I felt he sincerely wanted to do the right thing.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Do you really think Hillary wouldn't have had the exact same conversation about trust and loyalty with Comey, had she won the election? Do you really think she would have wanted him as an "essentially independent check on the president"?
The exact same conversation? No. She's a lawyer. Would she have had a deputy AG gin up an opinion that Comey's handling of her case merited his dismissal? We'll never know.
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Old 30th June 2017, 10:01 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
She wouldn't have fired him over the Russia investigation, like Trump is on record for firing Comey.
That would have been funny.

Originally Posted by ponderingturtle View Post
He fired Comey because the russia investigation wasn't being handled fast enough to clear him and everyone involved fast enough.
People might accuse me of splitting hairs, but I don't think Trump ever came out and said this. He said that firing Comey relieved a great pressure, according to notes on his meeting with Russian officials. He didn't say that's why he fired Comey.
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Old 30th June 2017, 11:57 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Gates volunteered his loyalty to Obama. Did Obama ask for it?

I did and took some flak for defending him when he brought up Hillary's emails again in connection with the Wiener investigation. I felt he sincerely wanted to do the right thing.

The exact same conversation? No. She's a lawyer. Would she have had a deputy AG gin up an opinion that Comey's handling of her case merited his dismissal? We'll never know.
Gates was a cabinet secretary. There's a difference between being a member of the administration and being an agency head.
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Old 1st July 2017, 07:01 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Comey didn't pledge the kind of loyalty Gates approved of, either.
Why - did Comey leak any content of conversations between him and Trump while both were in office? Because that is explicitly the loyalty Gates spoke of - that he would not use things said confidentially against the President.
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Old 1st July 2017, 09:21 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Craig4 View Post
Gates was a cabinet secretary. There's a difference between being a member of the administration and being an agency head.
I agree - at the Cabinet level presidents do want people personally loyal to them, but below that I just want to see competence in the job at hand.

ETA: Nothing about Comey bothers me except for calling a press conference last July. That was optional and does undermine his public image, IMO. It might have seemed like the right thing to do, but it's pretty lame for a cop to call a press conference to defend his decisions.

Great read! Thanks WP.

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Old 3rd July 2017, 05:34 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
That would have been funny.

People might accuse me of splitting hairs, but I don't think Trump ever came out and said this. He said that firing Comey relieved a great pressure, according to notes on his meeting with Russian officials. He didn't say that's why he fired Comey.
He said he was unhappy with how the investigation into russia was going in that is why he fired Comey in an interview Lester Holt. Asked about it Trump couldn't bear not to have personally decided to fire him and admitted he was going to fire Comey no matter what the letter justifying the firing said.
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Old 3rd July 2017, 06:36 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I agree - at the Cabinet level presidents do want people personally loyal to them, but below that I just want to see competence in the job at hand.

ETA: Nothing about Comey bothers me except for calling a press conference last July. That was optional and does undermine his public image, IMO. It might have seemed like the right thing to do, but it's pretty lame for a cop to call a press conference to defend his decisions.

Great read! Thanks WP.
I'd have to slightly disagree on the press conference. I actually liked that he did it that way instead of giving an explanation via memo or something. He was able to say what he wanted using the tone he meant it in. I truly believe that things can get lost in translation (happens on here all the time) when just left to the written word.
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Old 4th July 2017, 06:37 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
Why - did Comey leak any content of conversations between him and Trump while both were in office? Because that is explicitly the loyalty Gates spoke of - that he would not use things said confidentially against the President.
It was Trump who first "leaked" his supposed confidential conversations with Comey.
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Old 4th July 2017, 06:53 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
It was Trump who first "leaked" his supposed confidential conversations with Comey.
Are you referring to the comments about Comey confirming that Trump was not under investigation?

ETA: I'm thinking of setting my signature as being intended to irrigate people. At least some.

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Old 4th July 2017, 09:50 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by plague311 View Post
I'd have to slightly disagree on the press conference. I actually liked that he did it that way instead of giving an explanation via memo or something. He was able to say what he wanted using the tone he meant it in. I truly believe that things can get lost in translation (happens on here all the time) when just left to the written word.
I can support everything he said in a press conference, while still wondering if it was a smart idea for him to call one. IMO all the top cop has to say is whether there's enough evidence to recommend prosecution. His personal desire to say what he wanted to say might be satisfying to him, even satisfying to me, while still not being a good idea or, to use a word I don't like much, "appropriate."

But I do tend to overthink these things.

I'd have to look at his previous congressional testimony (May) and compare what he had to say there vs. what he felt necessary to add in July. Except for the press conference, he was always addressing Congress as far as I know. He might have even able add his press-conference points to the existing congressional record.
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Old 4th July 2017, 09:55 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
What a silly premise for an article.
Since Watergate, the bureau has come to view itself as an essential, and essentially independent, check on the president
This is just wrong. The essential and independent checks on the President are the Legislature and the Courts. The FBI is an executive branch agency. Its agents are agents of the Chief Executive.
The article doesn't say the bureau is an independent check on the president. It says this is how the bureau views itself. That's the premise of the article and it was well supported.
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