Official Special Investigation Into Trump Thread

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Basement Cat:
Snip

Question: Would it be more or less suspicious if anything at all stood between the world and this full disclosure?

I'm betting more, but calling it that someone will at least try to interfere with this.

FalloutJack:

Basement Cat:
Snip

Question: Would it be more or less suspicious if anything at all stood between the world and this full disclosure?

I'm betting more, but calling it that someone will at least try to interfere with this.

Full disclosure isn't possible simply because of Mueller's investigation--there are classified documents and such that can't be revealed before the investigation is concluded.

Also because they don't want to leave stones unturned. Finding that Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice is one thing, finding out that Trump and company colluded with Russia--including Sessions and VP Pence--is a much bigger deal because that would result in the entire administration facing prison.

Basement Cat:

Full disclosure isn't possible simply because of Mueller's investigation--there are classified documents and such that can't be revealed before the investigation is concluded.

Also because they don't want to leave stones unturned. Finding that Trump is guilty of obstruction of justice is one thing, finding out that Trump and company colluded with Russia--including Sessions and VP Pence is a much bigger deal because that would result in the entire administration facing prison.

I'm admittedly keeping my expectations on how much we might actually learn- one way or another, be it to exonerate or condemn Trump- pretty low given the significant breadth of events that might fall under the FBI's, and now Mueller's investigation, and as a result be neither confirmed nor denied over the course of testimony. Hopefully we'll at least get some confirmation on bigger questions like whether a) Comey assured Trump 'three separate times' that Trump wasn't under investigation, (something that would be a pretty shocking departure from proper procedure,) or b) Trump flat-out pressed for Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn which, yeah, would be shady as shit.

The fact that the administration is being very quick to fire every shot they can at Comey in advance makes it pretty evident they're concerned about what he might say, but again, kind of expecting a long string of 'I Can't Comment On That's to make up the bulk of it. I could be wrong, though.

Delicious Anathema:
While they're at it, let's see if they can find out that the DNC murdered Seth Rich because he was in contact with WikiLeaks.

Christ, not this again...

Look, people like Sean Hannity are pushing the Seth Rich story because they think, in their weird internal logic, that if Hillary Clinton ordered the assassination of a DNC staffer for speaking to Wikileaks, "that means there was no Russia." But many of the leaks in question happened after Seth Rich died. He couldn't possibly be responsible for all of them, if he was even responsible for any of them, which is a claim that has no proof as of yet.

Cernovich and Hannity and all the other trumpets are using a dead person as political chaff to distract from any inquiry into Russian interference in the election. It's not just baseless and wrong, it's poor form.

trumps $110 billion dollar arms deal with the saudi's apparently turned out to be.. expressions of interest from the saudis with no actual contracts as it seems with the low price of oil they cant actually afford to buy $110 billion in arms haha

It's an epidemic. :/

I have trouble believing that this is all the fault of people like Louise Mensch, though: the exceedingly ridiculous tunnel vision that the mainstream media has put on the Russia investigation and the speculation that passes for 'news analysis' makes the fake news about it more credible by association.

pookie101:
trumps $110 billion dollar arms deal with the saudi's apparently turned out to be.. expressions of interest from the saudis with no actual contracts as it seems with the low price of oil they cant actually afford to buy $110 billion in arms haha

This has been one strange shaggy dog story. First it's all about how he wouldn't sell weapons those filthy Islamists, then it's about how he'll totally sell them weapons anyway because Iran, now it's all about how nothing's getting sold anyway for practical reasons. Very anticlimactic.

Ladies and gents, Comey's full testimony isn't until tomorrow, but in the meantime here's his written statement.

https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/sites/default/files/documents/os-jcomey-060817.pdf

At a glance, there seem to be a few things that have been confirmed;

-Comey did, at least at times, assure Trump that he was not personally under investigation at the times he spoke to him. The FBI and DoJ were reluctant to make public statements confirming it, however, because if things should change down the road (in other words, if something turned this into an investigation into Trump,) then the FBI and/or DoJ would have a duty to correct the account. In other words, tell everyone 'Well no, nevermind, NOW we're investigating Trump personally.'

-Trump did ask, repeatedly and rather insistently, for a vow of 'loyalty,' and the context of the conversation kind of made it look like Trump was dangling Comey's job on a string. Up to the rest of you to read the account, though.

-Trump did ask Comey if he could 'let Flynn go,' though Comey has detailed that he wasn't under the impression this was about the wider Russia investigation, but rather the circumstances immediately surrounding Flynn's departure. He still writes that this is 'concerning,' and ultimately he did not share this request with anyone but the FBI leadership team, as said team agreed the investigative team shouldn't be 'infected' by this request.

-Comey did try to ask Sessions to spare him having any more direct meetings with Trump, likely due to the awkward and improper requests the President kept making, but it ultimately didn't pan out.

-During the next meeting, Trump described the Russia investigation as a 'cloud' that was impairing his ability to act on the behalf of his country. He then asked Comey what he could do to 'lift the cloud.' Comey replied that they were working quickly, but that if there was nothing to be find, Trump would be best served if they did a thorough job. Trump agreed, but reiterated how the investigation was a problem to him. He also expressed that he hoped Comey would find a way to 'get it out' that they weren't investigating him personally, while admitting that if 'satellite associates' in his campaign were guilty of something, it would be best to find out. But he then reiterated the problem with the 'cloud.' Comey reiterated that they would do whatever they could to work quickly.

The final call came some two weeks after the one above, and it's best if I just paste Comey's full account here.

On the morning of April 11, the President called me and asked what I had done about his request that I "get out" that he is not personally under investigation. I replied that I had passed his request to the Acting Deputy Attorney General, but I had not heard back. He replied that "the cloud" was getting in the way of his ability to do his job. He said that perhaps he would have his people reach out to the Acting Deputy Attorney General. I said that was the way his request should be handled. I said the White House Counsel should contact the leadership of DOJ to make the request, which was the traditional channel.

He said he would do that and added, "Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know." I did not reply or ask him what he meant by "that thing." I said only that the way to handle it was to have the White House Counsel call the Acting Deputy Attorney General. He said that was what he would do and the call ended. That was the last time I spoke with President Trump.

Well....to say the above is damning is a bit of an understatement.

NemotheElvenPanda:
Well....to say the above is damning is a bit of an understatement.

Comey is learning the what i like to call "GEralt" lesson as in try to be neutral or impartial can get shit thrown at you fromm all direction.

So...did anyone else watch Comey's testimony this morning?

Thoughts?

Listened to it on NPR. Nothing surprising came out of it, pretty much just public record now what I had heard about in the news previously.

SeventhSigil:
All that stuff.

So basically a fat pile of nothing?

Can't wait to see what CNN does with this.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/336871-cnn-issues-correction-after-comey-statement-contradicts-reporting

Yep, par for the course.

Wonder what narrative they'll run with next.

Jux:
Listened to it on NPR. Nothing surprising came out of it, pretty much just public record now what I had heard about in the news previously.

I was actually pretty surprised that Comey said in no uncertain terms that he considered what Trump asked him about the Flynn investigation as a directive from the president. That has SERIOUS implications. And rather than Trump simply saying "Hey, that's not what I meant, Comey took it the wrong way" Trump is flat out denying he ever said that (as well as other aspects of Comey's testimony) and is essentially accusing Comey of lying under oath, which only adds to the seriousness.

Also surprised that Comey was pretty blunt about his views on Trump and that he expressly said the president was lying on more than one occasion.

And lastly, I was a bit surprised about all the things Comey said he couldn't discuss in an open hearing, especially the stuff regarding Sessions and the communications between the Trump campaign and Russia.
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-questions-comey-wouldnt-answer/?ex_cid=538twitter

WHile watching it live, yes it was a long one, I was scanning twitter seeing what the people thought and boy were they selective to their narrative. The left cherry picks the good for their side, the right cherry picked the good for their side and of course what ever bad was said, they used it as a weapon on each other. Honestly, I'm getting fed up of the selective hearing from both sides that often looks ignorant and petty.

Parasondox:
WHile watching it live, yes it was a long one, I was scanning twitter seeing what the people thought and boy were they selective to their narrative. The left cherry picks the good for their side, the right cherry picked the good for their side and of course what ever bad was said, they used it as a weapon on each other. Honestly, I'm getting fed up of the selective hearing from both sides that often looks ignorant and petty.

To be sure, there was definitely some stuff in there that made the Dems look bad -- particularly the Loretta Lynch stuff. And all of the media that followed the "Trump is under investigation!" train have serious egg on their faces because, as Comey stated under oath, he wasn't (past tense, of course -- that may have changed).

But as far as narratives go, the Lynch/Clinton email stuff is another conversation for another time. The hearing was about Russia, Trump and Comey -- and I don't think Trump, his inner circle and a lot of Republicans came out of this looking very good. And I'm not entirely sure how partisan media will be able to credibly say otherwise, though I know they'll try.

Can someone please explain why we can convene a federal grand jury on Bill Clinton for what constitutes Adultery, obstruction of Justice, and Sexual Harassment Charges... but no one thinks we should hurry for possible conclusion with the Russian government, possibly Perjury if some of the knowledge of Flynn was truly known to Trump, Embezzlement claims, and an obstruction of Justice of his own?

I mean, the statement of "Oh, he just confirmed the bad thing we all knew" doesn't make it LESS of a bad thing. It actually makes it worse. It's still obstruction of justice even if it isn't a full out command. The intent is important, not the wording.

(a) Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any grand or petit juror, or officer in or of any court of the United States, or officer who may be serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate judge or other committing magistrate, in the discharge of his duty, or injures any such grand or petit juror in his person or property on account of any verdict or indictment assented to by him, or on account of his being or having been such juror, or injures any such officer, magistrate judge, or other committing magistrate in his person or property on account of the performance of his official duties, or corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b). If the offense under this section occurs in connection with a trial of a criminal case, and the act in violation of this section involves the threat of physical force or physical force, the maximum term of imprisonment which may be imposed for the offense shall be the higher of that otherwise provided by law or the maximum term that could have been imposed for any offense charged in such case.

(source: Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute)

There's no Functional difference between Trump putting the lean on him as there would be any Business Owner talking to his employee who has a duty to report any malfeasance committed by his company, saying "Look, we're a family. We must pull together as one. This report you are going to put in can ruin us. I hope you understand that that."

It's still Obstruction of Justice. Even if they try to make it sound nice or try to avoid direct wording, if a party uses his or her standing and/or position over someone he or she has authority over to convert legal proceedings to their liking, that's Obstruction of Justice.

Parasondox:
WHile watching it live, yes it was a long one, I was scanning twitter seeing what the people thought and boy were they selective to their narrative. The left cherry picks the good for their side, the right cherry picked the good for their side and of course what ever bad was said, they used it as a weapon on each other. Honestly, I'm getting fed up of the selective hearing from both sides that often looks ignorant and petty.

I was doing the same thing, much to the despair of what's left of my tolerance of it all. Politics have gotten to the point in the States where it's just all about your side and how right you are, context and facts be damned. I swear if you were to walk into a session of Congress these days you wouldn't see a group of politicians. You'd look to the left and you'd see a tree-house with the sign "No Repulicants Permitted >:(" nailed to the front door. You'd then look to the right and you'd see a pillow fort with the sign "No Democraps Allowed >:(" sitting near the entrance. Both filled not with politicians, but with angry children. And they sit in their little clubhouses, flinging paper balls across the room at one another. This extends to some of their supporters as well...it's just gotten so bad and childish, and it gets worse as time goes by.

Whitbane:

SeventhSigil:
All that stuff.

So basically a fat pile of nothing?

Can't wait to see what CNN does with this.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/336871-cnn-issues-correction-after-comey-statement-contradicts-reporting

Yep, par for the course.

Wonder what narrative they'll run with next.

Nothing new, mostly a string of confirmations on things that were initially in the hazy nexus of unnamed sources, and given they're pretty in-character for Trump, they're not even particularly surprising. Trump's insistence on personal loyalty above all else, the whole 'gee, hope you could let Flynn go' bit, his heavy-handed approach to exerting his authority, etc. People are likely going to spend the next three months wondering just how heavy-handed Trump's efforts have been, and how much this would constitute obstruction of justice, but ultimately, as I had mentioned in a post earlier in the thread, I wasn't expecting much more than some confirmation here and there.

One interesting talking point is, from a PR standpoint, which would be 'better;' neither confirming nor denying that Trump was personally under investigation until said investigation is fully concluded, or publicly informing the public that Trump wasn't under investigation, with the caveat that if that changed, you would then be obligated release a second, equally public statement informing the public that Trump now was under investigation. So, from a White House PR perspective, would it be better to let linger the idea that he might be under investigation, or take a chance and keep the public fully aware at all times, with no guarantee the narrative will always work in their favor? Obviously it's the latter if Trump never falls under investigation, but that's the kind of thing that can only be guaranteed with hindsight.

It also puts Trump's firing of Comey under pretty clear context. Again, Trump prizes personal loyalty above all else. It isn't about serving the country, or even the office of the President, job security in his administration is about serving the interests (and, occasionally, ego,) of Donald J Trump. Back when Comey did that whole e-mail statement about Clinton, Trump obviously loved the guy because he either interpreted it as a deliberate show of support for Trump himself, or figured it would keep Comey receptive to such a role. How secure Comey's position was hinged on whether Comey would do anything and everything to cater to the new President's needs, with some tests of that loyalty being the Flynn investigation, and the approach to PR in the Russia investigation. When he reportedly failed to show signs that he was letting Trump's 'suggestions' dictate the course of how the FBI was handling things, out the door he went.

EDIT: As an aside, also good to have confirmation that Comey did indeed provide assurance to Trump that he wasn't personally under investigation up until that point. xP I've got no trouble buying it now that we have a corroborating statement, but when it was Trump's word alone... well, the guy's word is just about as worthless as the worst of any news outlet, so we kinda need a bit more than 'The Trump Administration Said So' by now.

ObsidianJones:
Can someone please explain why we can convene a federal grand jury on Bill Clinton for what constitutes Adultery, obstruction of Justice, and Sexual Harassment Charges... but no one thinks we should hurry for possible conclusion with the Russian government, possibly Perjury if some of the knowledge of Flynn was truly known to Trump, Embezzlement claims, and an obstruction of Justice of his own?

Simple; Because the President's party is currently in charge of Congress. In 1999-2000, the Republicans ruled the House (it was the first time they had done so since 1946) and the Senate, and the Bill Clinton Monica Lewinsky Scandal came out, they pounced on it like hungry lions to make Bill Clinton and the Democrat Party look bad. Although the Senate ultimately did not go through with Impeaching Clinton, the House did create the Impeachment in the first place. If Democrats controlled the House and Senate in '99-2000, there would have never been an Impeachment trial against Clinton.

The Republicans control the Congress and the Presidency, and they don't want their President to look bad (even though he does so every day, on his own). They won't attack or try to impeach Trump on anything he's done or will do because a) it would make the Party look bad, b) they couldn't get anything they wanted done, and c) it would lead to a massive Democrat Victory in Both Chambers. There's also the problem that a lot of the things Trump could (and should) be impeached on are on 'shaky' ground. Trump would literally have to commit an actual crime (like Richard Nixon's private Spy Ring) that could not be open to interpretation for them to actually do anything. Make no mistake, though, that if the Democrats retake (at least) the House in 2018 (and so far it looks like they will), they will file Impeachment Charges on Trump. Whether it's successful or not doesn't matter, they will do it.

Mr.Mattress:
The Republicans control the Congress and the Presidency, and they don't want their President to look bad (even though he does so every day, on his own). They won't attack or try to impeach Trump on anything he's done or will do because a) it would make the Party look bad, b) they couldn't get anything they wanted done, and c) it would lead to a massive Democrat Victory in Both Chambers. There's also the problem that a lot of the things Trump could (and should) be impeached on are on 'shaky' ground. Trump would literally have to commit an actual crime (like Richard Nixon's private Spy Ring) that could not be open to interpretation for them to actually do anything. Make no mistake, though, that if the Democrats retake (at least) the House in 2018 (and so far it looks like they will), they will file Impeachment Charges on Trump. Whether it's successful or not doesn't matter, they will do it.

? 22?722. Prohibited acts; penalty.


(a) A person commits the offense of obstruction of justice if that person:

(1) Knowingly uses intimidation or physical force, threatens or corruptly persuades another person, or by threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede a juror in the discharge of the juror?s official duties;

(2) Knowingly uses intimidating or physical force, threatens or corruptly persuades another person, or by threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede a witness or officer in any official proceeding, with intent to:

(A) Influence, delay, or prevent the truthful testimony of the person in an official proceeding;

(B) Cause or induce the person to withhold truthful testimony or a record, document, or other object from an official proceeding;

(C) Evade a legal process that summons the person to appear as a witness or produce a document in an official proceeding; or

(D) Cause or induce the person to be absent from a legal official proceeding to which the person has been summoned by legal process;

...

Any person convicted of obstruction of justice shall be sentenced to a maximum period of incarceration of not less than 3 years and not more than 30 years

(source:Code of the District of Columbia)

Great. So, he did commit an actual felony. Let's get this train moving, then.

ObsidianJones:

? 22?722. Prohibited acts; penalty.


(a) A person commits the offense of obstruction of justice if that person:

(1) Knowingly uses intimidation or physical force, threatens or corruptly persuades another person, or by threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede a juror in the discharge of the juror?s official duties;

(2) Knowingly uses intimidating or physical force, threatens or corruptly persuades another person, or by threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede a witness or officer in any official proceeding, with intent to:

(A) Influence, delay, or prevent the truthful testimony of the person in an official proceeding;

(B) Cause or induce the person to withhold truthful testimony or a record, document, or other object from an official proceeding;

(C) Evade a legal process that summons the person to appear as a witness or produce a document in an official proceeding; or

(D) Cause or induce the person to be absent from a legal official proceeding to which the person has been summoned by legal process;

...

Any person convicted of obstruction of justice shall be sentenced to a maximum period of incarceration of not less than 3 years and not more than 30 years

(source:Code of the District of Columbia)

Great. So, he did commit an actual felony. Let's get this train moving, then.

I am in complete agreement that Trump committed a Crime. Unfortunately, because of how Comey handled the Information (holding onto it for months), and how it was released to the Public (by leaking it to his buddy in New York), the Republicans can basically say "This was just a political play by Comey! He doesn't really believe that Trump tried to Obstruct Justice! He should be the one going to jail!" and completely side step the fact that Trump attempted to Obstruct Justice!

Fortunately, the Democrats will have a legal reason to attempt an Impeachment in 2018-2019, so long as they get the House, and that's all they'd need to start the process.

ObsidianJones:
Can someone please explain why we can convene a federal grand jury on Bill Clinton for what constitutes Adultery, obstruction of Justice, and Sexual Harassment Charges... but no one thinks we should hurry for possible conclusion with the Russian government, possibly Perjury if some of the knowledge of Flynn was truly known to Trump, Embezzlement claims, and an obstruction of Justice of his own?

I mean, the statement of "Oh, he just confirmed the bad thing we all knew" doesn't make it LESS of a bad thing. It actually makes it worse. It's still obstruction of justice even if it isn't a full out command. The intent is important, not the wording.

(a) Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any grand or petit juror, or officer in or of any court of the United States, or officer who may be serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate judge or other committing magistrate, in the discharge of his duty, or injures any such grand or petit juror in his person or property on account of any verdict or indictment assented to by him, or on account of his being or having been such juror, or injures any such officer, magistrate judge, or other committing magistrate in his person or property on account of the performance of his official duties, or corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b). If the offense under this section occurs in connection with a trial of a criminal case, and the act in violation of this section involves the threat of physical force or physical force, the maximum term of imprisonment which may be imposed for the offense shall be the higher of that otherwise provided by law or the maximum term that could have been imposed for any offense charged in such case.

(source: Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute)

There's no Functional difference between Trump putting the lean on him as there would be any Business Owner talking to his employee who has a duty to report any malfeasance committed by his company, saying "Look, we're a family. We must pull together as one. This report you are going to put in can ruin us. I hope you understand that that."

It's still Obstruction of Justice. Even if they try to make it sound nice or try to avoid direct wording, if a party uses his or her standing and/or position over someone he or she has authority over to convert legal proceedings to their liking, that's Obstruction of Justice.

Cause Republicans.

Whitbane:
So basically a fat pile of nothing?

Not...really. The testimony was uneventful, but mainly because everything Comey had to say had already been reported on. Comey was simply testifying as to its truth.

There's still very much something in here. Donald Trump repeatedly pressured Comey to drop the Russia investigation, repeatedly asked for Comey's "loyalty," and when Comey refused him on both counts, he fired the shit outta Comey. This just proves what we've known ever since Comey was fired, which is that Trump fired him because of the Russia investigation.

And if Trump fires the director of the FBI because he won't stop investigating a political scandal that directly concerns the president and his administration...that's impeachable. That's very impeachable. I mean, impeachment isn't gonna happen, because the Republicans have no balls whatsoever. But it can and it oughta.

ObsidianJones:
Can someone please explain why we can convene a federal grand jury on Bill Clinton for what constitutes Adultery, obstruction of Justice, and Sexual Harassment Charges... but no one thinks we should hurry for possible conclusion with the Russian government, possibly Perjury if some of the knowledge of Flynn was truly known to Trump, Embezzlement claims, and an obstruction of Justice of his own?

I mean, the statement of "Oh, he just confirmed the bad thing we all knew" doesn't make it LESS of a bad thing. It actually makes it worse. It's still obstruction of justice even if it isn't a full out command. The intent is important, not the wording.

There's no Functional difference between Trump putting the lean on him as there would be any Business Owner talking to his employee who has a duty to report any malfeasance committed by his company, saying "Look, we're a family. We must pull together as one. This report you are going to put in can ruin us. I hope you understand that that."

It's still Obstruction of Justice. Even if they try to make it sound nice or try to avoid direct wording, if a party uses his or her standing and/or position over someone he or she has authority over to convert legal proceedings to their liking, that's Obstruction of Justice.

It's complicated.

My clarified answer.

Phew!!! Damn, it's good to come up for air!!!!

And this is the simplified version of things. I've left out numerous qualifiers and important factors but I'm tired of writing and this wall of text is long enough as it is.

bastardofmelbourne:

Whitbane:
So basically a fat pile of nothing?

Not...really. The testimony was uneventful, but mainly because everything Comey had to say had already been reported on. Comey was simply testifying as to its truth.

There's still very much something in here. Donald Trump repeatedly pressured Comey to drop the Russia investigation, repeatedly asked for Comey's "loyalty," and when Comey refused him on both counts, he fired the shit outta Comey. This just proves what we've known ever since Comey was fired, which is that Trump fired him because of the Russia investigation.

And if Trump fires the director of the FBI because he won't stop investigating a political scandal that directly concerns the president and his administration...that's impeachable. That's very impeachable. I mean, impeachment isn't gonna happen, because the Republicans have no balls whatsoever. But it can and it oughta.

Comey literally says that there was no pressure from the administration to drop the Russian investigation.

Around the 10:50 mark.

Whitbane:

bastardofmelbourne:

Whitbane:
So basically a fat pile of nothing?

Not...really. The testimony was uneventful, but mainly because everything Comey had to say had already been reported on. Comey was simply testifying as to its truth.

There's still very much something in here. Donald Trump repeatedly pressured Comey to drop the Russia investigation, repeatedly asked for Comey's "loyalty," and when Comey refused him on both counts, he fired the shit outta Comey. This just proves what we've known ever since Comey was fired, which is that Trump fired him because of the Russia investigation.

And if Trump fires the director of the FBI because he won't stop investigating a political scandal that directly concerns the president and his administration...that's impeachable. That's very impeachable. I mean, impeachment isn't gonna happen, because the Republicans have no balls whatsoever. But it can and it oughta.

Comey literally says that there was no pressure from the administration to drop the Russian investigation.

Around the 10:50 mark.

Two things: First, he said he was pressured by Trump and directed to drop the FLYNN investigation, and I think it goes without saying that the two are connected (though there are other non-Russia related miscondunct he's being investigated for, obviously).

Second, at the 10:50 mark Comey is responding to the following question: "Did any individual working for this administration, including the Justice Department, ask you to stop the Russia investigation?" to which he responded "No."

But DiFranco describes this exchnage as "when Comey was asked if Trump or his administration tried to obstruct the Russia investigation." Except Burr didn't mention Trump directly. Also, Comey is on record about Trump asking him to "lift the cloud" of the Russia investigation around him. And however you want to describe what Trump (and not his administration) was doing there, Comey and his colleagues were clearly disturbed by it, as evidence by this exchange during the testimony:

FEINSTEIN: So I wanted to go into that. Who did you talk with about that - lifting the cloud, stopping the investigation - back at the FBI, and what was their response?

COMEY: Well, the FBI, during one of the two conversations - I'm not remembering exactly. I think the first - my chief of staff was actually sitting in front of me, and heard my end of the conversation, because the president's call was a surprise.

And I discussed the lifting the cloud and the request with the senior leadership team, who in - in - typically, and I think in all these circumstances, was the deputy director, my chief of staff, the general counsel, the deputy director's chief counsel and, I think, in a number of circumstances, the number three in the FBI, and a few of the conversations included the head of the national security branch, so that group of us that lead the FBI when it comes to national security.

FEINSTEIN: OK. You have the president of the United States asking you to stop an investigation that's an important investigation. What was the response of your colleagues?

COMEY: I think they were as shocked and troubled by it as I was. Some said things that led me to believe that. I don't remember exactly, but the reaction was similar to mine. They're all experienced people who had never experienced such a thing. So they were very concerned.

And then the conversation turned to about, so what should we do with this information? And that was a struggle for us, because we are the leaders of the FBI. So it's been reported to us, in that I heard it and now I've shared it with the leaders of the FBI - our - our conversation was, should we share this with any senior officials at the Justice Department?

Our -- our absolute primary concern was, we can't infect the investigative team. We don't want the agents and analysts working on this to know the president of the United States has -- has asked -- and when it comes from the president, I took it as a direction -- to get rid of this investigation, because we're not going to follow that -- that request. And so we decided we gotta keep it away from our troops."

Here's the transcript:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/us/politics/senate-hearing-transcript.html

Exley97:
Your post.

Quoted from the NYT article.

RUBIO: Now, on a number of occasions here, you bring up - let's talk (ph) now about the general Russia investigation, OK? In page 6 of your testimony, you say - the first thing you say is, he asked what we could do to, quote/unquote, "lift the cloud," the general Russia investigation.

And you responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could and that there would be great benefit, if we didn't find anything, to having done the work well. And he agreed. He reemphasized the problems it was causing him, but he agreed.

So, in essence, the president agreed with your statement that it would be great if we could have an investigation, all the facts came out and we found nothing. So he agreed that that would be ideal, but this cloud is still messing up my ability to do the rest of my agenda. Is that an accurate assessment of...

COMEY: Yes, sir. He actually went farther than that. He - he said, "And if some of my satellites did something wrong, it'd be good to find that out."

RUBIO: Well, that's the second part, and that is the satellites. He said, "If (ph) one of my satellites" - I imagine, by that, he meant some of the other people surrounding his campaign - "did something wrong, it would be great to know that, as well"?

COMEY: Yes, sir. That's what he said.

RUBIO: So are those the other - are those the only two instances in which that sort of back-and-forth happened, where the president was basically saying, and I'm paraphrasing here, it's OK, do the Russia investigation. I hope it all comes out. I have nothing to do with anything Russia. It'd be great if it all came out, if people around me were doing things that were wrong.

COMEY: Yes. As I - I recorded it accurately there. That was the sentiment he was expressing. Yes, sir.

I mean, it sounds like Trump was letting Comey do the investigation, if only to finally be able to dispel rumors about all this Russian stuff. "Lifting the cloud" seems to be more like "hurry up and get this done so I can put all these stupid rumors behind me," and not Trump personally demanding Comey drop the investigation.

Although it's weird that Comey seems to answer Feinstein's and Rubio's questions differently. It sound like under Feinstein Trump is telling Comey to stop the investigation, while under Rubios's questions, making it look like Trump wanted to continue with the investigation.

Whitbane:

Exley97:
Your post.

Quoted from the NYT article.

RUBIO: Now, on a number of occasions here, you bring up ? let?s talk (ph) now about the general Russia investigation, OK? In page 6 of your testimony, you say ? the first thing you say is, he asked what we could do to, quote/unquote, ?lift the cloud,? the general Russia investigation.

And you responded that we were investigating the matter as quickly as we could and that there would be great benefit, if we didn?t find anything, to having done the work well. And he agreed. He reemphasized the problems it was causing him, but he agreed.

So, in essence, the president agreed with your statement that it would be great if we could have an investigation, all the facts came out and we found nothing. So he agreed that that would be ideal, but this cloud is still messing up my ability to do the rest of my agenda. Is that an accurate assessment of...

COMEY: Yes, sir. He actually went farther than that. He ? he said, ?And if some of my satellites did something wrong, it?d be good to find that out.?

RUBIO: Well, that?s the second part, and that is the satellites. He said, ?If (ph) one of my satellites? ? I imagine, by that, he meant some of the other people surrounding his campaign ? ?did something wrong, it would be great to know that, as well??

COMEY: Yes, sir. That?s what he said.

RUBIO: So are those the other ? are those the only two instances in which that sort of back-and-forth happened, where the president was basically saying, and I?m paraphrasing here, it?s OK, do the Russia investigation. I hope it all comes out. I have nothing to do with anything Russia. It?d be great if it all came out, if people around me were doing things that were wrong.

COMEY: Yes. As I ? I recorded it accurately there. That was the sentiment he was expressing. Yes, sir.

I mean, it sounds like Trump was letting Comey do the investigation, if only to finally be able to dispel rumors about all this Russian stuff. "Lifting the cloud" seems to be more like "hurry up and get this done so I can put all these stupid rumors behind me," and not Trump personally demanding Comey drop the investigation.

Although it's weird that Comey seems to answer Feinstein's and Rubio's questions differently. It sound like under Feinstein Trump is telling Comey to stop the investigation, while under Rubios's questions, making it look like Trump wanted to continue with the investigation.

I'll be perfectly honest -- I watched the entire testimony yesterday, and the exchange with Feinstein didn't raise any alarms for me at the time. And when I read the transcript at first, I though when Comey referenced that Trump asked him to "get rid of the investigation" that he was referring to the Flynn investigation and NOT the overall Russian interference investigation. But then I watched the testimony again, and it is CRYSTAL CLEAR he's talking about the two phone calls with Trump regarding "the cloud" of the Russia investigation and not Flynn.

Also, regarding the exchange with Rubio...other legal and government experts have highlighted this, but it bears repeating: it doesn't matter if Trump said on 10 or 20 or 100 different occasions that he hoped that Comey would find out if one of his "satellites" did something wrong (because, obviously, that's what you're supposed to do) and then turned around and said on just one occasion that he hoped Comey would drop the investigation. There isn't a legal scoreboard here; Trump doesn't get to said "Well I encouraged the investigation a number of times but only obstructed it once." So ultimately from a legal process, it doesn't matter if Trump promoted the investigation a bunch of times before trying to impede it. The only bearing it might have is if you're trying to argue, in a court of law and/or public opinion, that Comey is lying about the closed door meetings and phone calls and Trump is telling the truth.

But I'm not sure how even the most loyal GOP supporter could rationally argue that at this point.

Exley97:
More pruned stuff.

That's true, I guess.

But do you believe Trump will actually be impeached?

Is it true that the president has the direct authority to tell the FBI to stop investigations? If that's the precedent, then won't it be very difficult to try to bring up obstruction of justice charges?

Whitbane:

Exley97:
More pruned stuff.

That's true, I guess.

But do you believe Trump will actually be impeached?

Is it true that the president has the direct authority to tell the FBI to stop investigations? If that's the precedent, then won't it be very difficult to try to bring up obstruction of justice charges?

Dershowitz is an experienced and brilliant legal mind, but he's not making a legal argument with precedent and statute in that video -- he's arguing history and politics. And honestly, I haven't read a single expert in these matters claim that because the president is the commander in chief, he can simply order an FBI investigation started or stopped at his will.

So with all due respect to Dershowitz, that's fucking insane.

As for impeachment, it has nothing to due with rule of law and everything to do with partisan politics. It's one of the flies in the democratic ointment of America, so to speak. Generally speaking, the president is protected from being prosecuted under criminal under AFTEr he or she is out of office, and the way to do that is through impeachment first.

So whether Trump is impeached or not (he's likely resign before that happened, ala Nixon) depends on how bad his conduct is revealed to be, and whether GOP reps/senators either decide enough is enough (not holding my breath on that one) or Trump's approval rating goes sub-30% and they decide his unpopularity could drag them and the whole Republican party down with him. And to be honest, I'm not even sure THAT would force them to abandon Trump and impeach him, considering everything the guy has done to sitting Republican leaders (McCain, Cruz, etc.) and skated on.

So no. I don't think he will be impeached.

Whitbane:
Comey literally says that there was no pressure from the administration to drop the Russian investigation.

Look, this kind of stuff is always super ambiguous because the person in charge isn't ever going to say "now listen here Comey, you're a loose cannon and it makes my dick itch, you're off the Russia case and that's the end of it."

They say stuff like "I hope we can let this go," or "I hope we can get past this." And that can sometimes mean literally what it appears to mean. But sometimes, the context and the delivery make it suspicious. Like if the person saying it is the President of the United States, which he is. Or if he's saying it in the Oval Office, which he was. Or if he ordered everyone else out of the room before saying it, which he did do.

And all things aside - the astounding part about Comey's testimony has nothing to do with the testimony. It has to do with the fact that everyone is apparently ignoring that the President said, firsthand, of his own volition, that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation! He said it in an interview with Lester Holt weeks ago!

I mean, instead of addressing that, all the Republicans and the trumpets are focussing on how Comey's testimony had "nothing new," or they're picking over it to find a line that can be interpreted as positive towards Trump, or they're talking about how the President had "a light touch" as if obstruction of justice is somehow better if it's done deftly, when we have Trump's own testimony saying that he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation. We've had it for weeks, and everyone's just forgotten about it because you Americans are so inured to bullshit now that Trump could take a dump on an old lady's face and you'd say "Well, he didn't grab her by the pussy or anything, come on."

Whitbane:
But do you believe Trump will actually be impeached?

Not immediately, if at all. Impeachment requires majorities in both houses, which the Democrats don't have right now and probably won't have for some time. So either the Republicans turn on Trump, or the Democrats pull off a historic sweep of both houses.

It's more likely that he'll just lose re-election.

Whitbane:
Is it true that the president has the direct authority to tell the FBI to stop investigations?

One of the problems here is that America is in uncharted waters, here. An FBI director has only ever been fired once before, and under very different circumstances.

The FBI is a federal agency. What that means is that it is staffed by presidential appointment, which is to say that every member at the bureau serves at the President's pleasure. What that means is that it is directly within Trump's legal power to fire every single member of the FBI right now with no consultation or administrative oversight whatsoever. He can fire them because they dissed his haircut.

Does that mean the president has the direct authority to tell the FBI to stop investigations? No, if you ask me. Nothing about the construction of the FBI gives investigative authority to the President. Under Hoover, the FBI did not answer to the President at all, and he controlled the FBI for the formative decades of its early history. The President may have the practical capacity to tell the FBI to stop investigations, because he could say "drop this investigation or you're fired," but he does not have the direct legal authority to do so, and if he did so it would probably constitute obstruction of justice. (It hinges on how you interpret "corruptly.")

I find all of this law-wrangling over "oooh did he do a crime or not" kind of funny because it distracts from the key fucking point that Trump is a goddamn idiot and he shouldn't be president. He has no idea what he's doing and no idea how to make it appear as if he knows what he's doing. That, in and of itself, should be reason enough to remove him from office.

Whitbane:
If that's the precedent, then won't it be very difficult to try to bring up obstruction of justice charges?

Firstly, there is no precedent.

Secondly, yes. It would be difficult-verging-on-impossible to actually convict Trump of obstruction of justice. This is because that is a two-stage process. He must be impeached and removed from office, and then he must be charged and tried in court as a private citizen.

There's a lot of obstacles to that. Impeachment requires majorities in both Houses, so either the Democrats sweep Congress or the Republicans turn on their own President. Furthermore, even after impeachment, it's not clear whether a President can be convicted of crimes committed whilst in office. (Again, this has never happened before.) Furthermore, it would be well within the powers of then-President Pence to simply pardon Trump for any crimes he may have committed, as Gerald Ford did for Richard Nixon. (Note that it is technically within the powers of the presidential pardon for Trump to order a person murdered and then pardon the murderers and himself. The constitutional limit imposed on the presidential pardon is...impeachment.)

See, all of this shit is why the political conventions that Trump kept flouting were actually important. Those conventions literally kept the entire system afloat. Once you dispense with what is considered acceptable for a President to do, you realise that what is considered legal for a President to do is really quite astonishing.

So apparently Trump has now come out and said that he would testify under-oath. He said he would, under-oath, go on about how the Russia thing is a lie made up by the Democrats and that Comey was lying about their conversations. How is this man still a thing? How the hell didn't he run himself into the ground with no chance for recovery years ago? He's always so damn eager to shoot himself in the foot, and he does it with confidence and glee. I've read a lot into his past and it's just fascinating how much he's gotten away with. He built his brand and name on so many lies, that it's almost like because of that, he's immune to the truth. To where whenever he's caught people just go "well, that's Trump for ya" and not give a damn. I mean it's gotten to the point where the excuse Republicans are using for him now is more or less "he just doesn't know what he's doing, it's alright, he just doesn't know what he's doing". HOW DOES THAT MAKE IT OKAY?! How is it okay for the President to not know what he's doing? This is all just so damn exhausting.

Nedoras:
So apparently Trump has now come out and said that he would testify under-oath. He said he would, under-oath, go on about how the Russia thing is a lie made up by the Democrats and that Comey was lying about their conversations.

If they can get Trump on the stand and under oath for just five goddamn minutes, none of this will matter because he'll perjure himself as soon as he possibly can.

The man cannot keep his story straight in between sentences. He has no chance of getting through a two-hour hearing.

Now the old time Republican Establishment power barons are smelling blood in the water. Following Comey's testimony Karl Rove--who was a major mover and shaker in the GOP until Mitt Romney's run for the presidency failed in 2012--appears to be sowing seeds for the removal of Donald Trump.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/337077-karl-rove-trump-lacks-the-focus-or-self-discipline-to-do-the

Taking the long view into consideration this makes perfect sense and I expect to be seeing an increasing amount of such assertions on the part of the Republican Establishment. Trump is pure poison and the GOP as a whole would greatly prefer to have a President Pence.

And Trump is likely to be their greatest means to achieve such a change of power. The man is a dimwitted egomaniac who's surrounded himself all his life with sycophants. He's his own worst enemy and after a mere 4 months in office he's burning US stability and interests left and right (pun intended).

Heck, if he continues as he has been I'll start to worry about assassins going after him. I worried about nutjobs going after Obama (racists, mostly) but fortunately he was never shot.

Trump, on the other hand, is threatening everybody. He's painting himself into a smaller and smaller corner every week. I don't want to see this nation harmed by a presidential assassination.

Nor do I want to see a failed assassination attempt that might rally support to him from the public as a matter of reflex.

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