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Comey: “No wiretapping.” Trump must apologize



In today’s hearings before the House Intelligence Committee, FBI director James Comey assured us, “We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

Why should we believe him? This is the man whose anti-Hillary interference in the recent election resulted in Trump’s victory and, in so doing, Comey may well have violated U.S. law.

The committee’s tea party chairman, Nunes, immediately let the world know how unseriously he takes his own committee’s hearings by asking the most ridiculous, irrelevant question of Comey and Rogers: Is there any evidence that the Russians tinkered with election results in a half-dozen states Trump won? The answer from both of them was an emphatic “No.”

Look, nobody ever suggested Russia physically interfered with voting results in individual states. No one, ever, period, hard-stop. The influence on American voters by the Russians was psychological, not technical: Comey’s announcement, one week before Election Day, that Hillary Clinton was a target of investigation caused enough swing voters to vote for Trump and against her. So, again, this red herring from Nunes was dastardly, and one can only conclude that his mind is made up: he is determined that nothing damaging will be found against the Trump administration, and no matter what anyone says, Chairman Nunes is going to protect his President, his party, and his majority in the Congress.

That is not patriotism; that is not justice; that is not bipartisan. It is a coverup.

Another smokescreen the Republican congressmen, particularly Gowdy, threw up was to focus on the leaks, which they professed outraged them—and, incidentally, to which they ascribed political, personal, “nefarious” motives, rather than high-minded whistleblowing. Of course the Republicans want to shift attention to the leaking, because they want to divert attention away from the content of those leaks. This, too, is shameful. America’s integrity is at stake here: the very soul of our democracy—our electoral integrity–is on the line, and what are Republican worried about? Leaks. (And by the way, Republicans had no problem when Trump urged Putin to leak Hillary’s emails—which he did. A little hypocrisy here.)

But the real action yesterday was Comey and Trump’s lie that Obama wiretapped him. Schiff got the action going, citing Trump’s libelous slander of Obama. “Was the President’s statement true?

Comey: “I have no information that supports those tweets.”

Schiff: “The President accused Obama and the FBI of engaging in McCarthyism. Do you agree?”

Comey: “All I can tell you is we have no information about that.”

Well, that’s it. Comey himself said it out loud, for everyone to hear: “No information that supports those tweets.”

While I watched the hearings I had Trump’s two Twitter pages onscreen. He seems to use @realDonaldTrump more profligately than @POTUS; often, @real refers to events almost immediately upon their occurrence. In this case, Trump’s most recent tweet went up several hours before the hearings began, but they tell us he was already worried. What about all of the contact with the Clinton campaign and the Russians? Also, is it true that the DNC would not let the FBI in to look?”

Interesting how he tried to deflect attention away from Comey’s testimony even before he (Trump) knew what Comey was going to say! Has there been any suggestion whatsoever about Clinton campaign contact with the Russians? None that I’ve heard. Clearly another invention, like “Obama tapped my phones.” And what’s this about the Democratic National Committee? Have you heard anything about that? Me, neither. Another smokescreen.

So, really, this should end it. Comey pounded the last nail into the “Obama tapped Trump Tower” coffin. It didn’t happen—and Trump is going to have to deal with the political fallout and embarrassment of his lie, as well as to apologize for slurring President Obama and lying to the American people. But—to mix metaphors—there are more shoes to drop: Roger Stone, Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort, for starters.

  1. Trump won’t apologize. For anything. Ever. He’s all about machismo and dominance, and he views apologies as a sign of weakness, as evidenced by how he describes any apologies that anyone else has made: according to him, Justice Ginsburg was “forced to apologize” to him.

    What you see from Trump already is what you’re going to get on this issue. “I put ‘wiretap’ in quotes.” “Look, I was only repeating what respected legal scholar Andrew Napolitano said.” “The Washington Post once wrote the words ‘Trump’ and ‘wiretap’ in the same story, so there!” “The real story here is the leaks!”

    And this morning’s hearings just show how little the Republicans in Congress are prepared to do about it. They’ll continue to carry water for him and defend his lies as long as they believe they have more to lose from taking him on than from supporting him. And Paul Ryan doesn’t give a damn; he’s too giddy at the thought of living out his frat boy dream of denying health care to poor people.

  2. Bob Henry says:

    From the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal today (March 22, 2017) — which over 3,800 readers responded to with comments.

    From The Wall Street Journal “Opinion” Section
    (March 22, 2017, Page A18):

    “A President’s Credibility”


    From The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board

    If President Trump announces that North Korea launched a missile that landed within 100 miles of Hawaii, would most Americans believe him? Would the rest of the world? We’re not sure, which speaks to the damage that Mr. Trump is doing to his Presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods.

    The latest example is Mr. Trump’s refusal to back off his Saturday morning tweet of three weeks ago that he had “found out that [Barack] Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower just before the victory” on Election Day. He has offered no evidence for his claim, and a parade of intelligence officials, senior Republicans and Democrats have since said they have seen no such evidence.

    Yet the President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle, rolling out his press spokesman to make more dubious claims. Sean Spicer—who doesn’t deserve this treatment—was dispatched last week to repeat an assertion by a Fox News commentator that perhaps the Obama Administration had subcontracted the wiretap to British intelligence.


    That bungle led to a public denial from the British Government Communications Headquarters, and British news reports said the U.S. apologized. But then the White House claimed there was no apology. For the sake of grasping for any evidence to back up his original tweet, and the sin of pride in not admitting error, Mr. Trump had his spokesman repeat an unchecked TV claim that insulted an ally.

    The wiretap tweet is also costing Mr. Trump politically as he hands his opponents a sword. Mr. Trump has a legitimate question about why the U.S. was listening to his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and who leaked news of his meeting with the Russian ambassador. But that question never gets a hearing because the near-daily repudiation of his false tweet is a bigger media story.

    FBI director James Comey also took revenge on Monday by joining the queue of those saying the bureau has no evidence to back up the wiretap tweet. Mr. Comey even took the unusual step of confirming that the FBI is investigating ties between the Trump election campaign and Russia.

    Mr. Comey said he could make such a public admission only in “unusual circumstances,” but why now? Could the wiretap tweet have made Mr. Comey angry because it implied the FBI was involved in illegal surveillance? Mr. Trump blundered in keeping Mr. Comey in the job after the election, but now the President can’t fire the man leading an investigation into his campaign even if he wants to.

    All of this continues the pattern from the campaign that Mr. Trump is his own worst political enemy. He survived his many false claims as a candidate because his core supporters treated it as mere hyperbole and his opponent was untrustworthy Hillary Clinton. But now he’s President, and he needs support beyond the Breitbart cheering section that will excuse anything. As he is learning with the health-care bill, Mr. Trump needs partners in his own party to pass his agenda. He also needs friends abroad who are willing to trust him when he asks for support, not least in a crisis.

    This week should be dominated by the smooth political sailing for Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the progress of health-care reform on Capitol Hill. These are historic events, and success will show he can deliver on his promises. But instead the week has been dominated by the news that he was repudiated by his own FBI director.

    Two months into his Presidency, Gallup has Mr. Trump’s approval rating at 39%. No doubt Mr. Trump considers that fake news, but if he doesn’t show more respect for the truth most Americans may conclude he’s a fake President.

  3. Bob Henry says:

    Google these key words and what headlines do you see in other media?


    “Wall Street Journal editorial attacks Trump’s credibility” – USA Today

    “Wall Street Journal Editorial Harshly Rebukes Trump” – The New York Times

    “Wall Street Journal issues stinging rebuke to Trump” – LA Times

    “WSJ editorial: Most Americans may conclude Trump ‘fake president'” – CNN

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