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Dumb and Dumber

Some Republicans are vainly trying to defend Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey, but none of their explanations even pass the smell test. Here are the most common arguments:

Trump has the power to fire the FBI director.

Not if he did it to obstruct justice. Especially not if he lied, and had other people lie, about why he did it. According to a Republican ethics expert: “We cannot tolerate this — for the president to be firing people who are investigating him and his campaign and its collusion with the Russians. It’s a lot worse than Watergate.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein is an honest public servant, so we have to believe the rationale he gave for firing Comey.

This excuse is based on the fact that Rosenstein wrote a memo saying that Comey mishandled the investigation into Clinton’s emails. Except that a few hours later it came out that Rosenstein threatened to resign after the White House blamed him for the firing. Confirming those reports was the fact that the White House suddenly changed their tune and went on TV to say that the firing of Comey had nothing to do with Clinton’s emails. Also, Trump had effusively praised Comey’s handling of the email investigation.

And finally, the most hilarious excuse is that “Trump is not stupid enough to fire Comey to stop the Russia investigation.”

Oh really? If so, then he was even more stupid to fire Comey in a way that would make it look exactly like he fired him to stop the Russia investigation. And this ignores the huge question why “why now?”. And the only possible answer is the Russia investigation.


Also published on Medium.

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23 Comments

  1. ebdoug wrote:

    Eric Trump said in 2008? That the Trumps were borrowing lots and lots of money from the Russian banks. now because the Trumps think the world owes them a living, I doubt the money was repaid. Once someone owes someone, the leader has that person in their pocket. Why is this so difficult? What did I miss?

    Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink
  2. Wildwood wrote:

    I’m tired.

    Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink
  3. Jonah wrote:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-trump-firings/

    Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
  4. Max wrote:

    The rumor is that he was fired because he expressed something like regret about influencing the election (“It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might have had some impact on the election.”)

    And the Russia investigation. That too.

    Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
  5. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Holy cow, even you are falling for made up news PI. Rosentein never said that. The Wapi and other worthless news citing anonymous sources made it up.
    Here’s the real truth.
    http://wjla.com/news/nation-world/deputy-ag-rosenstein-im-not-quitting-didnt-threaten-to-quit-over-comey-firing

    I personally know Rod, and worked with many in his office. He was an outstanding US Attorney for Maryland. He is also one of the most ethical people on planet.

    Now let’s talk about all the Dem Pols from Schumer, Pelosi, to Wasserman Schultz and last and least Maxine Waters who said Comey should be fired, although she would have preferred Clinton giving him the axe.

    Talk about hypocrisy and irony. Jeez.

    As to the alleged Russian conspiracy there is nothing there involving Trump. Flynn did screw up by not reporting contacts, and he paid the price. This reminds me of the Obama birther hoax. So I guess the Dems are have their own fantasy scandal.

    Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    OMG, that article is from the Sinclair Broadcasting Group. That’s the company that made a deal during the campaign to give Trump better coverage in exchange for favors. They also ran an hour-long special attacking John Kerry in 2004. In my book, that completely rules them out as a credible news source.

    Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink
  7. redjon wrote:

    I predict that what will come of this will be… nothing. Is there anything, seriously, that the collective GOP will not overlook if committed by one of their own?

    Name six examples. Just six. I’ll wait.

    Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 8:07 pm | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Here are a few more

    http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/comey-roundup-more-details-emerging-about-white-house-drama-n757806

    http://www.cnbc.com/amp/2017/05/11/deputy-ag-rosenstein-reportedly-threatened-to-quit-over-depiction-of-his-role-in-comey-dismissal.html

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 3:59 am | Permalink
  9. Dave, TN wrote:

    Redjon, the only sin I can remember as unforgivable was Mark Foley luring the male pages out. But that was some time ago and I’m not sure that they would give it a second look today.

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink
  10. Jonah wrote:

    My two cents:

    The reason for firing Comey wouldnt be concerning if Trump had a valid consistent reason for firing him and had guaranteed that the investigation would continue in his letter to comey. However that hasnt been the case from what I can gather. Instead his letter seems to indicate the investigation into himself was the main reason for firing comey. Reasons for firing have since changed rapidly and now seem to be because Trump hated comey stealing the limelight
    http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-russia-collusion-lester-holt-interview-nbc-news-2017-5
    http://www.businessinsider.com/sarah-huckabee-sanders-trump-james-comey-firing-2017-5

    and today this
    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/863007411132649473

    Its “SAD” if irrespective of you being a republican or democrat if you don’t find this behaviour alarming.

    I’ll add that democrats can be faulted for contradicting their earlier positions regarding Comey only if Trump or Sessions had in no uncertain terms agreed to continuing the investigation with an independent panel.

    I’ll also add that this is in no way similar to obama’s birth certificate issue. On the one hand you have evidence proving the president was born in the US and even then you regurgitate the useless point that he’s not a us citizen. On the other you could have a situation where a foreign country has potentially tried to affect the outcome of an election. Are they really similar situations and which one needs to be investigated to the outmost? Pretend you are independent.

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink
  11. Jonah wrote:

    And here’s the conservative wsj on rosenstein which supports that yes he would have resigned

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/rosenstein-pressed-white-house-to-correct-the-record-on-comey-firing-1494523639

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink
  12. Ralph wrote:

    I’m less concerned about whether or not Rosenstein allegedly threatened resignation over being the fall guy than all the other inconsistencies and contradictions coming from the WH on the matter. Pence says one thing, Spicer and Huckabee-Sanders something else, Kelly Ann Conway resurfaces again mumbling some incoherent alternative facts and then Trump puts out his own spin, saying in an interview with Lester Holt it was all his decision regardless, kneecapping his own staff in the process. And didn’t Jeff Sessions, who lied under oath to Congress about his Russian ties, recuse himself from anything to do with the Russia investigation? And yet he still weighed in on the matter alongside his deputy, Rosenstein. And Trump’s public letter to Comey justifying his decision is odd in itself, to say the least, saying (for public consumption?) that Comey assured him he personally wasn’t a subject of the investigation, not once but three times (as usual, “it’s all about Me Me Me!”). Besides reportedly requesting Comey’s loyalty and allegiance at a private dinner engagement (which Comey flat out refused), or the questionable ethics, perhaps even the legality, of the appearance of obstruction of an ongoing FBI investigation, his obsession about the Russia investigation is suspicious on its face. And the (coincidental?) chummy visit this week of the Russian ambassador, Kislyak, a central figure in all this, to the Oval Office (no journalists allowed, only WH and Russian photogs, thank you), only adds to the suspicions. It all just fails to pass the smell test and more Republicans beyond McCain and Graham are agreeing to the need for an independent prosecutor to take over the investigation, esp after the fiaso of the House committee and Nunez botching the matter to the point of apparent collusion with the WH.

    Patriot – It’s no secret, nor surprising, that many on the left were incensed with Comey’s possible influence on the election with the timing of his revelations about the Clinton email investigation, but if Trump really wanted to fire him over his subsequent handling it (by dropping it rather than locking her up), he had more than 100 days to do so before he did. Not to mention the questionable ethics of even inserting himself into an FBI investigation at all. Instead, he waited until the Russia investigation was visibly ramping up and just after Comey had requested additional resources from the Justice Dept. for the case. Timing is everything, in politics especially, and this one has people on both sides of the aisle wondering, in the words of our fearless tweeter, “what the hell is going on”?

    Speaking of tweets, today’s most notable from Agent Orange (so far), coming just within the hour as I write, is, “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”
    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/863007411132649473

    Did the President of the United States just threaten the former head of the FBI by disclosing an illegal wiretap? You cannot tape someone with their knowledge absent a FISA warrant. Does such a warrant exist? Does such a tape actually exist or is this just another reckless bluster akin to the Obama “tapp”? Does putting something in quotes absolve a President of responsibility from the facts? Does this president or WH have a shred of credibility left anymore? Inquiring minds of all stripes want to know what the hell is going on.

    I’m with Wildwood. I’m tired already with all the winning!

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink
  13. Ralph wrote:

    @Jonah – nice work, you beat me to the punch on that tweet reference, didn’t see your post before posting! I’ve noticed the only thing more “entertaining” than a Trump tweet is reading the first dozen or so replies from the cognoscenti. Whether from the left or right, Trump never fails to fire up the crowd. It’s like those Geico ads, it’s what he does.

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink
  14. Ralph wrote:

    One last thing. My favorite part of the Holt interview, asking Trump about the reason for Comey’s firing, replies, “Look, he’s a showboat, he’s a grandstander…”. Ha! He forgot to add, “That’s my job!” That’s at least a reason I could buy in his case.

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink
  15. Ralph wrote:

    Oh yeah, one last last thing. On the interwebs, it doesn’t take long to pull up a handy meme to drive home a point, as if it’s needed here.
    http://bit.ly/2qakme8

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink
  16. Ralph wrote:

    Oops, sorry.
    https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-1VoHVGxSAMo/WRTQLnnVd3I/AAAAAAAAcjA/MM90vvkm5kUlwTTOExnk1_69gLTqpuw2QCLcB/s1600/images.jpg

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink
  17. Ralph wrote:

    Sorry to butt in again, but wanted to correct a sentence from my first long-winded comment above. From the second to last paragraph, the sentence should read: You cannot tape someone WITHOUT their knowledge absent a FISA warrant.

    Obviously, if you’re taping a conversation with the other party’s consent, no problem.

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink
  18. Wildwood wrote:

    PAT,
    1. Timing is important. Comey should have been gone a long time ago. That is “time” in Trump years, not real time. I think it’s sort of like dog years.
    2. Birther hoax compared to Russian involvement? Really? Not even remotely on the same level. Not even close.

    RED. You will be waiting a long time. They are like hogs who haven’t seen a wallow in years. They are so busy wallowing in their new found power and they are not about to give it up, even for a fatally flawed president. At least not yet. He starts pulling out his pecker at formal occasion and maybe we have a chance of them doing something. Or more likely grabbing Angela Merkel’s crotch at a press conference.

    Ralph. Who knew winning would be so exhausting and terrifying at the same time. PS, loved the meme. When did meme become a word? I’m old, played Scrabble for decades, (have several games going online right now), read lot and, until the last year or so, “meme” was not on my radar. Maybe senility is setting in. Or maybe it’s exhaustion.

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 9:40 am | Permalink
  19. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Ralph, you need to stop listening to fake news. Comey never asked for more funds. The acting Director shut that rumor down under oath when testifying to the senate.

    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink
  20. Jwhat wrote:

    Perhaps we should all stop listening to those pesky journalists and just start reading Trump’s tweets….direct from the horse’s ass!!

    Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink
  21. Ralph wrote:

    Patriot – Oh my, where to begin? Well, whatever you say, though it’s something that was reported by ALL the major news outlets, yes even that fair and balanced one that still has a man-crush on the Orange Crush, at least they seems to most every time I’m flipping through the cable news channels.
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/05/10/comey-asked-doj-for-more-resources-for-russia-probe-source-says.html

    But let’s say you’re correct and that that particular story is indeed bogus, so let’s throw that one out. Any other points I made above also fake? Just curious. Do you think the Comey firing, esp it’s timing, is justified? He shut down the Hillary probe months ago, if Hillary is the real reason. What took him so long? And didn’t Trump himself say after the election that Hillary is old news, and I’m paraphrasing here, saying, “The election’s over, so we don’t care anymore, right?”.

    But if Trump is correct, that Comey had lost the respect and confidence of the agency, why did he cancel his planned visit there this past week upon hearing he wouldn’t be warmly welcomed (read, hostile reception)? You’d think they would be calling him a savior and throwing him a party for the favor he claims to have done them.

    Point being, whether that source was bogus or not, it doesn’t tip the balance in any significant way.

    Because every intelligence agency in the country (is it seven now? I’ve lost count of them all) has concurred about Russian interference in the election. There is clearly more than circumstantial evidence or hearsay about this and at some point the truth will out. Whether Trump was directly colluding or not, every true patriot and citizen should be alarmed at this interference with our electoral process, Republican, Democrat, or Independent. When does party loyalty finally yield to country? You’d think a President who wants to make America great again would welcome a thorough and independent investigation of a foreign adversary tampering with our internal affairs, especially elections. Instead, he has done virtually everything to thwart it by all appearances.

    So I guess my only questions remaining are, in the aggregate is this a president you’re really proud of, that any true patriot could be proud of? What exactly is it that makes you proud to have him representing this country? What is it with his disturbing attraction, even admiration, for authoritarian figures, whether it’s Putin, or Li’l Kim, Duterte, or Egypt’s el-Sisi, while showing little regard or respect for stalwart allies like Merkel, Turnbull, or Trudeau (how’s that lumber trade war coming along), let alone Mexico? Was clearly distressed at (practically fascist) Le Pen’s defeat last week. Imagine if this was Obama still in office. Under the same circumstances, I imagine Republicans would be absolutely apoplectic with rage!

    The most disturbing headline of the week I heard about was last night during an interview with Rep. Adam Schiff on Maher’s Real Time, referring to an article on the recent visit by Angela Merkel: “Leader of the Free World meets Donald Trump”. Yeah, kind of a cheap shot, I’ll admit, but it drives home the point and hard to imagine going there with any other president in recent memory, at least in my memory and I’ve been around since JFK. Even Nixon knew who our friends were, even if he was no friend of the people.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhLWkQ331og

    Oh yeah, it’s Politico. Fake news, right? Sigh.
    http://ask.metafilter.com/300154/Is-Politico-a-trustworthy-organization-for-US-news

    Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink
  22. Ralph wrote:

    In case anyone ask if Politico is too soft on liberals. God knows we all make mistakes and take the bait sometimes, and it’s not getting any easier. Hey, wasn’t all this tech supposed to make our lives…but I digress.

    “For years, it’s been conservatives who have been branded as intolerant. But conservatives will tell you that liberals demonstrate their own intolerance, using political correctness as a weapon of oppression. So who’s right? Recent research confirms that conservatives, liberals, the religious, and the nonreligious are each prejudiced against those with opposing views. But surprisingly, each group is about equally prejudiced. While liberals might think of themselves as more open-minded, they are no more tolerant of people unlike them than their conservative counterparts are. Political understanding might stand a chance if we could first put aside the argument over who has that bigger problem. The truth is that we all do.”
    Matthew Hutson in Politico.com

    Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 2:17 pm | Permalink
  23. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Ralph, it seems to me that all the major “news” outlets, but particularly are not actually journalists or news outlets for that matter. They don’t report facts and when they claim to be doing so they don’t bother to fact check, investigate or corroborate the source’s story.
    As to Bill Mayher, he should be blacklisted and his sponsors boycotted for his mysogynistic and sexist remarks about Ivanka.
    Colbert the same for his extremely inappropriate remarks. If a conservative had said Chelsea Clinton took over for Monica after she was dismissed the left would have lost its mind. It’s a straight out double standard.
    The far left in universities is killing free speech, and calling anything they don’t agree with as hate speech. But if the hate speech comes from the left it’s ok, right? Like Mahler and Colbert? If the fascist left want s to burn, intimidate, assault and spew hate it’s ok as long. As it’s in protest to Rrump or the right?
    I think the far rights white supremists are the same as the far left fascists/ anarchists. Both groups should be ostracized and called out.
    Now, as to the firing of Comey, I don’t think it would have mattered at all to the left when Trump did it. If he had done it on his first
    Day or his 300th, the narrative from the left would have been the same. Why didn’t Obama do it? That’s bexecuase his AG met with the Bill in secret on a tarmac to talk about the grandkids, really? Does anyone think that’s the real story? So Obama couldn’t fire Comey, because it would have been too messy. So it was left for Trump,
    The Russians meddling in our election, 100% they did. Just like we meddle in many elections including theirs. (And yes that’s true, ask IK). So us yelling at them is as my grandmother would say “that’s the pot calling the kettle black”. Besides, Obama knew 6 months before the election, but as usual did nothing. He believed the “news” polls too and thought it wouldn’t matter. Then it did. But the meddling didn’t matter, she was a lousy candidate from day one. Her loss is 100% her fault. She had the private server and she had classified materiel on it. Trump did not. She was out of touch with average Americans, Trump was not. Her Husband got on the plane with the person who would decide whether to prosecute or not, that wasn’t Trump either. The DNC chairwoman was all in for her, and not the IMO better candidate( at least more honest). Trump didn’t do that either.
    So all this media frenzy is just balcony, fake hysteria for one purpose. To make money. The non news networks are making a killing and destroying a pretty good country in the process. It’s all about the dollar.

    Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink