Trump Blasts Comey for Comments About 2020: He Had No Right Heading FBI ‘After His Mind Exploded!’

Over the weekend, former FBI Director James Comey made some comments about President Donald Trump‘s unacceptable behavior and how voters can stand up to it and vote him out of office, explicitly saying the Democrats “have to win” in 2020.

Comey’s comments have gotten a lot of attention in the past few days, and after today’s wild on-camera skirmish with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), President Donald Trump took to Twitter to blast Comey and say that he exposed himself as a Democrat who shouldn’t have been in charge of the FBI:

In an interview earlier this year, Comey said he used to be a Republican but lamented that the party “left me.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Rage Tweets About Mueller’s ‘Illegal’ Investigation After Hannity Monologue Blasting Comey

It’s Monday night and it appears President Donald Trump is watching Sean Hannity. How do we know this? Well, the president blasted out a tweet attacking Robert Mueller‘s “witch hunt” on Twitter for the umpteenth time, and it just so happens that the Fox News host just finished talking about the exact same subject.

Trump’s tweet came minutes after Hannity finished a section his monologue in which he addressed James Comey‘s testimony before Congress last week. Hannity blasted the former FBI director for his “selective amnesia” while answering questions, but he especially honed in on what Comey said about how the controversial dossier prepared by Fusion GPS wasn’t verified by the FBI before it became the foundation of a FISA warrant issued to investigate Trump’s campaign.

[Mediaite]

Donald Trump Tweets: No “Smocking” Gun Tying His Campaign To Russia

Monday morning and President Donald Trump is tweeting – this time cribbing from Fox News’ morning talk about Democrats’ inability to find a “smocking gun.”

“Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey’s testimony,” Trump tweeted, in re GOP-ers in House Judiciary Committee having hauled Comey back in for a day’s worth of grilling, mostly about Hillary Clinton’s emails according to Comey, talking to reporters at end of Friday. Transcript to come.

“No Smocking Gun…No Collusion,” Trump boasted in his early morning tweeting.

“That’s because there was NO COLLUSION. So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly calling it a campaign contribution…which it was not (but even if it was, it is only a CIVIL CASE, like Obama’s – but it was done correctly by a lawyer and there would not even be a fine. Lawyer’s liability if he made a mistake, not me).

[Deadline]

Reality

A brief moment on Monday’s Fox and Friends First was the catalyst for an early-morning tweet from President Trump.

This is an amazing admission of guilt, and an amazing misspelling of “smoking” twice, but let’s also walk through the lies in this tweet.

First, James Comey testified in a closed door session a few days prior on the demands of House Republicans, who pulled him in to ask questions about Hillary Clinton and her use of a private email server. An obvious ploy to change the national conversation away from Trump by Republicans… not Democrats.

And second, a lawyer for the Department of Justice accompanied Comey to the hearing and any time a Republican Congressman asked him questions prying into the Robert Mueller probe, the lawyer instructed Comey he couldn’t comment about an ongoing investigation.

So Republicans and Fox News framed this very basic understanding of our justice system to their their viewers as “James Comey refused to answer questions.”

 

Trump tried to order the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton and Comey

President Donald Trump tried to order prosecutors at the Department of Justice to indict two of his political enemies — 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey — this spring, according to the New York Times.

According to the Times report, then-White House counsel Don McGahn warned Trump not to issue the order, and had lawyers prepare a memo for Trump explaining what would happen if he tried to prosecute Clinton and Comey. One of those possibilities was, reportedly, the risk of impeachment.

Presidentially directed indictments against specific individuals would be a massive breach of the independence of the Justice Department; the general expectation that prosecutors are supposed to issue indictments based on an examination of the evidence at hand; and the democratic norm against prosecuting political opponents for political acts.

The president’s lawyers reportedly asked the Justice Department to investigate Comey last year, according to the Times’s Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman. That request was not successful. And McGahn’s memo appears to have discouraged the president from going further — for now.

But the Times reports Trump has “continued to privately discuss the matter, including the possible appointment of a second special counsel to investigate both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey” — suggesting he hasn’t given up.

Special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed shortly after Comey’s firing to both continue the investigation into Russia ties, and to investigate whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice by interfering into the investigation — including by firing Comey. (McGahn is known to be cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, and so has likely told Mueller about Trump’s musings on prosecution orders.)

The Times report suggests that new information could help him argue that the president did, in fact, obstruct justice by attempting to bend it to his will.

Clinton’s sins are reportedly her emails and Uranium One; Comey’s are “leaking” and his treatment of Clinton

Trump promised during the 2016 campaign to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton based on her use of a private email server as secretary of state — a campaign promise in line with the common Trump rally chant to “Lock her up!” However, when he fired Comey in May 2017, the stated reason (in a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein) was that Comey treated Clinton too harshly during the investigation.

Trump didn’t stick to that pretext for long: a few days after Comey’s firing, he said in an interview with NBC News’s Lester Holt that his frustration with Comey was rooted in this “Trump-Russia thing” — the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia before Trump’s inauguration. And according to the Times, one of the reasons Trump’s lawyers cited in asking the DOJ to investigate Comey after his firing was his handling of the Clinton email investigation, presumably because Trump felt Comey was too soft on Clinton, not too hard.

In addition to the email issue, Trump now believes the Justice Department should prosecute Clinton for her approval of a uranium-mining deal as secretary of state, a long-time conservative bugaboo that has no evidence of criminal activity or intent, and that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to appoint a special counsel to investigate.

Trump’s lawyers’ request to the DOJ to prosecute Comey, meanwhile, were based both in his treatment of Clinton and in his supposed leaking of classified information.

Trump has spread the “leaking” claim around; as far as anyone can tell, it is a lie. It appears to be based on Comey’s recounting of conversations he had with Trump and others before the US Senate in June 2018, and his recording of events as FBI director in contemporaneous memos, some of which were subsequently leaked to the press. But there’s no evidence that Comey engaged in any illegal leaking, and it’s not clear what Trump wants him prosecuted for.

Attempting to prosecute Clinton would be an obvious presidential override of the official finding of an FBI investigation. Attempting to prosecute both Clinton and Comey — the man Trump fired because, ostensibly, he seemed too willing to prosecute her — would be a clear-cut sign that Trump was using the Justice Department for his own ends.

[Vox]

FBI unable to find photos of Comey, Mueller ‘hugging and kissing’ as Trump claimed

The FBI says it was unable to locate any photos of former FBI Director James Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller “hugging and kissing” after President Trump claimed he could provide 100 such images.

BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold on Tuesday shared the Justice Department’s response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request he filed with the bureau asking for photographs of Mueller and Comey “hugging and kissing each other.”

The FBI said in response that its search did not turn up any records corresponding with Leopold’s request.

The bureau noted that there are three categories of law enforcement and national security records protected from FOIA requests, but added that the disclosure “should not be taken as an indication that excluded records do, or do not, exist.”

Comey, who was fired as FBI director in May 2017, joked on Tuesday that his wife was “so relieved” to hear the results.

The Justice Department’s response was dated Oct. 17, just six weeks after Trump claimed in a Sept. 4 interview with The Daily Caller that Mueller and Comey, who worked together at the FBI, are “best friend[s]” as part of a broader complaint about alleged conflicts of interest Mueller has in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

“He’s Comey’s best friend,” Trump told the conservative publication. “And I could give you 100 pictures of him and Comey hugging and kissing each other. You know, he’s Comey’s best friend.”

The president has frequently railed against Mueller’s investigation, claiming repeatedly that he did not collude with Russia in the 2016 election, suggesting the special counsel’s office is biased against him and questioning why Mueller is not investigating Democrats.

Trump interviewed Mueller for FBI director after firing Comey last year, but ultimately appointed current FBI Director Christopher Wray to the post.

It’s unclear if Trump made the decision before Mueller was named special counsel in May 2017.

Comey and Mueller have a working relationship dating back to the early 2000s, when they both served at the Justice Department.

There is no evidence to suggest that Comey and Mueller are “best friends” or that their relationship has influenced the special counsel’s investigation.

[The Hill]

Trump regrets not firing Comey when Obama was still in office: ‘I should have fired him the day I won the primaries’

President Donald Trump displayed a deep misunderstanding of his own authority Tuesday, bemoaning that he didn’t fire FBI Director James Comey back when he won the Republican primary, or at least after the Republican convention, in an interview with the Hill.

Barack Obama was still President during both of those events and vested with the power to fire Comey.

“If I did one mistake with Comey, I should have fired him before I got here. I should have fired him the day I won the primaries,” Trump told the Hill. “I should have fired him right after the convention, say I don’t want that guy. Or at least fired him the first day on the job. I would have been better off firing him or putting out a statement that I don’t want him there when I get there.”

Trump also mentioned that he is ordering the declassification of documents related to the Russia probe because exposing it as a partisan “hoax” would be a “crowning achievement” of his presidency.

“I hope to be able to call this, along with tax cuts and regulation and all the things I’ve done … in its own way this might be the most important thing because this was corrupt,” he added to the Hill.

He went on to say that his own FBI is working against him and trying to undermine his presidency.

“What we have now is an insurance policy,” the Trump told the Hill. “But it has been totally discredited, even Democrats agree that it has been discredited. They are not going to admit to it, but it has been totally discredited. I think, frankly, more so by text than by documents.”

He concluded that he hoped to “expose” the FBI as “truly a cancer in our country.”

[Business Insider]

Trump Falsely Accuses NBC’s Lester Holt Of Getting ‘Caught Fudging’ Russia Interview

President Donald Trump has accused NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt of “fudging” an interview that NBC aired more than a year ago. “When Lester Holt got caught fudging my tape on Russia,” Trump said in a tweet early Thursday morning, providing no evidence to support his claim, “(NBC News was) hurt badly!”

Trump seems to be referring to a May 2017 interview, aired just two days after the president fired FBI director James Comey. In the interview, Trump called Comey “a showboat,” and appeared to reject an official White House explanation for the firing, telling Holt “the Russia thing” was on his mind when he decided to fire Comey. “I just said to myself, I said, ‘you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.'”

The interview was sensational enough at the time to be mocked by NBC’s Saturday Night Live, in which Holt, played by Michael Che, thinks he has finally caught the president, only to discover that nothing Trump says matters. “Wait, did I get him? Is this all over? No, I didn’t? Nothing matters? Absolutely nothing matters anymore.”

The real interview aired on Nightly News, and NBC News published an extended version online. Trump offered no explanation of how NBC might have “fudged” the interview, in which the most explosive words came from the president’s own mouth. From the time the interview aired until today, no one has accused Holt of altering the interview–and he was never “caught” or “hurt badly” as a result.

Trump’s attack on NBC came amid a Twitter rant about the media, including personal attacks on the bosses at NBC News and CNN. Trump, who has repeatedly–and falsely–claimed that CNN chief Jeff Zucker was about to be fired, on Tuesday urged AT&T to dismiss Zucker, who recently extended his contract with the network. Trump said, “Little Jeff Z has done a terrible job, his ratings suck, and AT&T should fire him to save credibility!”

Trump is also wrong about CNN’s ratings. Details released this week by Nielsen show the network had near record ratings in August and posted its second-best ratings in total day in the history of cable news’ original network. Daytime ratings were the third highest for CNN in 23 years, and all of CNN’s prime-time shows posted near-record high ratings, with Cuomo Prime Time, which just launched in June, delivering the network’s third highest August rating on record in the 9 p.m. hour.

And yet, Trump said, “the hatred and extreme bias of me by CNN has clouded their thinking and made them unable to function.” The president said the problem extended to other networks, with “NBC News being the worst. The good news is that Andy Lack(y) is about to be fired(?) for incompetence and much worse.”

Again, Trump neither explained his wild allegations nor defended his false claims, insisting only that “I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred and agenda.”

[Forbes]

Media

Here is the interview in full.

Rudy Giuliani says Trump is ‘honest’ because facts are ‘in the eye of the beholder’

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney delivered another doozy of a soundbite Tuesday night, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo that “nowadays” facts “are in the eye of the beholder.”

Rudy Giuliani made the comment while defending Trump’s harsh words for former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman. Cuomo said other presidents faced criticism and adversity without resorting to insults.

“Maybe nobody has been as honest as him,” Giuliani said.

“If fact-counting is anything, we’ve never had anybody with the level of mendacity that he has,” Cuomo replied. “Not even close.”

“It’s in the eye of the beholder,” said a chuckling Giuliani.

 “No, facts are not in the eye of the beholder,” Cuomo said, shaking his finger.

“Yes, they are,” Giulini said. “Nowadays they are.”

Whether intended in humor or not, the former New York mayor’s remark feeds into a perception among critics that the Trump administration often rejects objective facts and tries to confuse the public about what is true.

Trump’s rejection of facts dates back at least to his refusal to accept that former President Barack Obama was a U.S. citizen despite being presented with conclusive evidence.

The perception that a fast and loose attitude toward reality followed Trump, and his staff, into the White House was sparked just after Trump took office. Press secretary Sean Spicer asserted that Trump’s inaugural crowd was “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration – period,” when photos showed the crowd in Washington was much smaller than the one present for Obama’s inauguration.

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway famously defended Spicer’s assertion by saying he was working with “alternative facts.”

Giuliani also repeated his statement that Trump did not speak to former FBI Director James Comey about the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, contradicting Comey’s claims.

[USA Today]

Media

Trump threatens ‘to get involved’ in manic conspiracy meltdown over ongoing FBI investigation

Out of nowhere — and possibly as a distraction to some upcoming news — President Donald Trump attacked the FBI on Saturday morning by demanding they turn over files on [Rformer FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to outside conservative advocacy group Judicial Watch.

Once again alleging a conspiracy, Trump tweeted, “Why isn’t the FBI giving Andrew McCabe text massages [sic] to Judicial Watch or appropriate governmental authorities. FBI said they won’t give up even one (I may have to get involved, DO NOT DESTROY). What are they hiding? McCabe wife took big campaign dollars from Hillary people.”

He later added, “Will the FBI ever recover it’s once stellar reputation, so badly damaged by Comey, McCabe, Peter S and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, and other top officials now dismissed or fired? So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!”

You can see screenshots of the original tweets below which were deleted to correct the usual Trump typos:

[Raw Story]

Trump, citing politics, looking to revoke security clearances

President Donald Trump is considering stripping a half-dozen former national security officials of their security clearances, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Monday, calling their public commentary about the ongoing Russia probe inappropriate.

The list of former officials under consideration includes former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former FBI Director James Comey, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, according to Sanders.

“They’ve politicized and in some cases monetized their public service,” Sanders said during a press briefing. “Making baseless accusations of an improper relationship with Russia is inappropriate.”

Sanders would not say when the President would make the decision; she said only that the White House would provide updates when it had them.

The announcement came after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, tweeted that he planned to speak with Trump about removing Brennan’s security clearance. Brennan declared last week that Trump’s performance following a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki was “nothing short of treasonous.”

A decision to strip a former official of a security clearance would prove a striking use of presidential power. Even Michael Flynn, Trump’s onetime national security adviser who was fired during the Obama administration, maintained his clearance when he was acting as a campaign surrogate for Trump, often leading “lock her up” chants at political rallies.

Sanders did little to mask the political nature of Trump’s threat, indicating the President was frustrated by the former officials’ criticism of him.

“When you have the highest level of security clearance, when you’re the person that holds the nation’s deepest, most sacred secrets at your hands and you go out and you make false accusations against the President on the United States, he says that’s something to be concerned with,” Sanders said.

“We’re exploring what those options are and what that looks like,” she said of the process for removing the officials clearances.

When they leave government, national security officials routinely maintain their security clearances, partly to consult with those who replace them about ongoing situations or issues.

Officials also use their clearances to obtain high-paying consulting positions in the private sector.

“I think this is just a very, very petty thing to do. And that’s about all I’ll say about it,” Clapper said on CNN in the immediate wake of Sanders’ announcement.

“There is a formal process for doing this,” he added. “But, you know, legally the President has that prerogative and he can suspend and revoke clearances as he sees fit. If he chooses to do it for political reasons, I think that’s a terrible precedent and it’s a really sad commentary and its an abuse of the system.”

Hayden indicated being stripped of his clearance would be of little consequence to his commentary.

“I don’t go back for classified briefings. Won’t have any effect on what I say or write,” he tweeted.

It is the President’s prerogative to revoke security clearances, a former senior intelligence official said on Monday, who added that instances of such an occurrence were rare.

Usually former senior officials retain clearances so their successors can consult with theem on a pro bono basis, the former official said.

[CNN]

1 2 3 6