(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner should “absolutely” have his security clearance suspended, Rep. Mike Quigley told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview Wednesday afternoon.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner should “absolutely” have his security clearance suspended, Rep. Mike Quigley told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview Wednesday afternoon.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS)
The U.S. Senate voted nearly unanimously on Thursday for legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia and force President Donald Trump to get Congress’ approval before easing any existing sanctions on Russia.
In a move that could complicate U.S. President Donald Trump’s desire for warmer relations with Moscow, the Senate backed the measure by 98-2. Republican Senator Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, were the only two “no” votes.
The measure is intended to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and support for Syria’s government in the six-year-long civil war.
If passed in the House of Representatives and signed into law by Trump, it would put into law sanctions previously established via former President Barack Obama’s executive orders, including some on Russian energy projects. The legislation also allows new sanctions on Russian mining, metals, shipping and railways and targets Russians guilty of conducting cyber attacks or supplying weapons to Syria’s government.
“The legislation sends a very, very strong signal to Russia, the nefarious activities they’ve been involved in,” Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said as lawmakers debated the measure.
If the measure became law, it could complicate relations with some countries in Europe. Germany and Austria said the new punitive measures could expose European companies involved in projects in Russia to fines.
The legislation sets up a review process that would require Trump to get Congress’ approval before taking any action to ease, suspend or lift any sanctions on Russia.
Putin dismissed the proposed sanctions, saying they reflected an internal political struggle in the United States, and that Washington’s policy of imposing sanctions on Moscow had always been to try to contain Russia.
The bill also includes new sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile program and other activities not related to the international nuclear agreement reached with the United States and other world powers.
UNCERTAIN PATH IN HOUSE
To become law, the legislation must pass the House of Representatives and be signed by Trump. House aides said they expected the chamber would begin to debate the measure in coming weeks.
However, they could not predict if it would come up for a final vote before lawmakers leave Washington at the end of July for their summer recess.
Senior aides told Reuters they expected some sanctions package would eventually pass, but they expected the measure would be changed in the House. The Trump administration has pushed back against the bill, and his fellow Republicans hold a commanding 238- to 193-seat majority in the chamber.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson questioned the legislation on Wednesday, urging Congress to ensure that any sanctions package “allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions to meet the needs of what is always an evolving diplomatic situation.”
Previously, U.S. energy sanctions had only targeted Russia’s future high-tech energy projects, such as drilling for oil in the Arctic, fracking and offshore drilling. They blocked U.S. companies such as Exxon Mobil, where Tillerson was chairman, from investing in such projects.
The new bill would slap sanctions on companies in other countries looking to invest in those projects in the absence of U.S. companies, a practice known as backfilling.
Also included for the first time are discretionary measures the Trump administration could impose on investments by companies in Western countries on Russia energy export pipelines to Europe.
The Senate also voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to add provisions to the bill allowing the U.S. space agency NASA to continue using Russian-made rocket engines and the 100 senators voted unanimously for an amendment reaffirming the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance.
(Additional reporting by Tim Gardner; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and Tom Brown)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS)
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia was ready for a constructive dialogue with the United States.
“We do not view USA as our enemy,” Putin said during his annual question-and-answer session with Russian citizens. Moscow and Washington can cooperate on issues including the non-proliferation of weapons and the Syria crisis, he added.
(Reporting by Polina Nikolskaya and Maria Tsvetkova; writing by Polina Devitt; editing by Maria Kiselyova)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘THE ROOT’ NEWS)
Contrary to popular belief, slavery was never outlawed in the United States.
This statement is not a debatable, half-twisted analysis or a cynical opinion. It is a fact. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution does not outlaw slavery, it only prohibits slavery in certain situations. It is entirely constitutional to turn drug dealers, gangbangers and thugs into slaves. It is perfectly legal for corporations to use legions of slaves to increase their profit and pass them along to shareholders. Even though it seems like the opposite of freedom, America is totally cool it.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
When Hillary Clinton stood at Keene University and called black men “superpredators” in January 1996, it was only a few days after the New Year’s Day release of her book It Takes a Village. In the book, Clinton spoke about her days in the Arkansas governor’s mansion and the longstanding tradition of using convicted felons as free labor.
Clinton could relax and have her dark-skinned dishwashers clean the mayonnaise residue off her finger-sandwich plates because Arkansas is one of the few states that still uses prison labor without compensating the prisoners. She was cool with it, though—except when she was forced to send “back to prison any inmate who broke a rule.” Clinton lovingly referred to the felons as “emotional illiterates,” which is a little demeaning, but apparently not as much as the ones she hadn’t locked up yet, whose powers allowed them to grow into “super predators.”
America has the largest prison population in the world. According to the Washington Post, about half of the 1.6 million people in state or federal prisons are black, even though African-Americans make up roughly 13 percent of the population. “Black Americans were incarcerated in state prisons at an average rate of 5.1 times that of white Americans,” The Guardian reported last year, “and in some states that rate was 10 times or more.” Even when convicted of the same crime as whites, black convicts, according to a 2014 study (pdf), were even more likely to serve time in private prisons.
The untold, secret story of America’s criminal-justice system is that there are large corporations benefiting from free black labor, and under the Trump administration, business is booming.
In August 2016, former President Barack Obama announced a push by his administration to end the federal use of private prisons. This directive sent private-prison stocks into a downward spiral. One of the first decisions Jeff Sessions made as the current attorney general under President Donald Trump was to reverse this order. The second move by the Sessions-led Department of Justice was to end the Obama administration’s practice of not seeking mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses. When the DOJ released the memo rescinding this policy, private-prison stocks soared to an all-time high.
Perhaps Sessions’ decision was based on Republican ideals of “law and order.” Maybe it was because all conservatives believe private companies do a better job at running prisons than the government (data shows they don’t).
However, it might be because Jeff Sessions’ investment portfolio is filled with thousands of dollars in private-prison stock. It’s likely because GEO Group Inc. and CoreCivic, two of the nation’s largest private-prison operators, gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trump’s fundraising efforts.
There are prisons and companies all across the country who use free or barely-paid prison labor to make a profit. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, these prisoners make between 12 cents and $1.14 an hour. Some of the products and companies that benefit from this slave labor include:
This list doesn’t include the states, like Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas, which don’t pay prisoners at all for labor. Places like Angola State Prison are known for the cruel and inhumane treatment of their prisoners, forcing them to live in tents and work for free.
In February, immigration detention center detainees filed suit against GEO, the private-prison operator that made it rain on the Trump campaign. According to the lawsuit, the corporation used as many as 50,000 federal detainees to work for free, or for as little as $1 a day, even threatening some with solitary confinement for refusing to work as a slave.
As harsh as this sounds, there will be more. With the DOJ’s directive to use mandatory minimums and the renewal of the war on drugs, slavery will make a comeback under the Trump administration.
But this is all legal and constitutional. No one argues that these prisoners aren’t slaves—or even that blacks are more likely to endure this indentured servitude. The only argument for this system of slavery is that it is profitable. It remains a stain on the American flag because we live in an oligarchy. The only reason it exists is because without it, the multibillionaires at Honda, Microsoft and McDonald’s might have to live life as regular, run-of-the-mill billionaires. How else is Jeff Sessions supposed to line his pockets with the bloody dollar bills he’s earned off the backs of the oppressed?
Slavery is still legal in the U.S. because there is apparently one thing that has always trumped freedom, equality and justice: White people’s money.
… and to the Republic, for which it stands, with
liberty and justice for all.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)
McCain, Obama’s 2008 opponent who remained a vocal critic during his presidency, asked by The Guardian whether U.S. standing in the world was better under Obama. “As far as American leadership is concerned, yes,” McCain said.
He was also critical of Trump’s Twitter attacks against London Mayor Sadiq Khan following the recent terrorist attack in the city.
“They are not sure of American leadership, whether it be in Siberia or whether it be in Antarctica,” McCain said.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)
But D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) say Trump has broken many promises to keep separate his public duties and private business interests. For one, his son Eric Trump has said the president would continue to receive regular updates about his company’s financial health.
The lawsuit, a signed copy of which Racine and Frosh provided to The Washington Post on Sunday night, alleges “unprecedented constitutional violations” by Trump. The suit says Trump’s continued ownership of a global business empire has rendered the president “deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors” and has undermined the integrity of the U.S. political system.
“Fundamental to a President’s fidelity to [faithfully execute his oath of office] is the Constitution’s demand that the President … disentangle his private finances from those of domestic and foreign powers. Never before has a President acted with such disregard for this constitutional prescription.”
The suit could open a new front for Trump as he navigates investigations by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and congressional committees of possible collusion between his associates and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential campaign.
If a federal judge allows the case to proceed, Racine and Frosh say, one of the first steps will be to demand through the discovery process copies of Trump’s personal tax returns to gauge the extent of his foreign business dealings. That fight would most likely end up before the Supreme Court, the two said, with Trump’s attorneys having to defend why the returns should remain private.
“This case is, at its core, about the right of Marylanders, residents of the District of Columbia and all Americans to have honest government,” Frosh said. To fully know the extent of Trump’s constitutional violations “we’ll need to see his financial records, his taxes that he has refused to release.”
Racine said he felt obligated to sue Trump in part because the Republican-controlled Congress has not taken the president’s apparent conflicts seriously.
“We’re getting in here to be the check and balance that it appears Congress is unwilling to be,” he said.
The constitutional question D.C. and Maryland will put before a federal judge is whether Trump’s business ownership amount to violations of parts of the Constitution known as the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses.
To guard against foreign countries gaining sway over the new republic’s ambassadors in the late 1700s, drafters of the Constitution prohibited any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
In another part of the Constitution, framers sought to prevent a president from favoring one state over another, forbidding him from receiving any gift or emolument from a state and instead, only the compensation approved by Congress.
The lawsuit, to be filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, will be the latest and most significant legal challenge to Trump over the issue of emoluments. The first was filed in January by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a D.C.-based watchdog group. In March, a D.C. restaurant sued Trump, alleging the new Trump International Hotel in D.C. benefits from unfair advantages because of its close association with the president. And last week, a group of Democratic members of Congress said they plan to file suit soon. Each, however, has faced legal hurdles over standing to sue the president.
In the Trump administration’s most detailed response yet, the Department of Justice filed a 70-page legal brief on Friday arguing the CREW lawsuit should be dismissed. The administration said Trump’s businesses are legally permitted to accept payments from foreign governments while he is in office. The filing held up the lack of past complaints — going all the way back to farm produce sold abroad by George Washington — to assert that market-rate payments for Trump’s real estate, hotel and golf companies do not constitute emoluments as defined by the Constitution.
Racine and Frosh, however, argue Trump’s violations are on scale never seen before and that both D.C. and Maryland are being adversely affected by the Trump hotel near the White House.
After hiring staff and holding events to cater to foreign diplomats, the Embassy of Kuwait held an event at the hotel, switching its initial booking from the Four Seasons. Saudi Arabia, the destination of Trump’s first trip abroad, also booked rooms at the hotel through an intermediary on more than one occasion since Trump’s inauguration. Turkey held a state-sponsored event there last month. And in April, the ambassador of Georgia stayed at the hotel and tweeted his compliments. Trump himself has appeared at the hotel and greeted guests repeatedly since becoming president.
As a result, the hotel may be drawing business away from the taxpayer-owned D.C. convention center and one in nearby Maryland subsidized by taxpayers, Frosh and Racine argue.
Norman Eisen, who served as the chief White House ethics lawyer for President Barack Obama and is CREW’s board chairman, said jurisdictions such as the District and Maryland are among the “most perfect plaintiffs” to sue over emoluments because they have a coequal say in making sure the Constitution is being enforced.
“In the emoluments clauses, we have these ancient air bags that were placed in the Constitution by the framers that are now being deployed,” said Eisen, who has been advising the District and Maryland on their suit. “Trump is the framers’ worst-case scenario; a president who would seize office and attempt to exploit his position for personal financial gain with every governmental entity imaginable, across the United States or around the world.”
On the domestic side, the suit alleges Trump has received unconstitutional financial favors from the U.S. government. It says the U.S. General Services Administration, which handles federal real-estate, wrongly allowed Trump’s company to continue to lease the Old Post Office building, where Trump built his D.C. hotel, even though a clause in the contract said no elected official could remain on the lease.
The GSA initially said Trump would have to fully divest from the hotel after the election. But after Trump proposed increasing GSA’s budget, the suit says the agency issued a letter saying Trump was in full compliance.
The suit also alleges that Trump is violating domestic emoluments by creating a situation in which states feel compelled to compete for Trump’s favor, perhaps by offering zoning exemptions, waivers or other benefits to help his businesses.
After initially saying the Trump organization would not pursue new deals while he was in office, Trump’s sons announced last week that the company would begin building a network of new hotels in mostly red states that he won in last year’s election.
The suit by D.C. and Maryland says the two jurisdictions are faced with an “intolerable dilemma” to either go along with the Trump Organization getting special treatment, including possible lost local revenue or “deny such requests and be placed at a disadvantage vis-à-vis states and other government entities that have granted or will agree to such concessions.”
The District and Maryland file the suit at great peril, Racine and Frosh allege, because the two have a disproportionately large percentage of federal workers and could be acutely affected by federal budget cuts that Trump could seek as retribution.
But Maryland argues that it has special standing to sue. As one of the original states that approved the Constitution, Maryland gave up a clause in its own state declaration that had required its governors not to take any gifts from foreign governments or other states.
“This case represents another storm, not just a dusting of snow, but a blizzard of trouble for Trump,” Eisen said. “Who better than governmental actors to say our deal was, our fundamental democratic bargain was, we would get a president who would follow the Constitution.”
Racine and Frosh say that unless Trump is reined in under the emoluments clause, Americans can never be certain that “underlying his travel ban, withdrawal from the Paris Accord climate deal or proposed tax cuts” that he is acting in the country’s best interest and not his own.
Strict adherence to the emoluments clauses, D.C. and Maryland argue, “ensure that Americans do not have to guess whether a President who orders their sons and daughters to die in foreign lands acts out of concern for his private business interests; they do not have to wonder if they lost their job due to trade negotiations in which the President has a personal stake; and they never have to question whether the President can sit across the bargaining table from foreign leaders and faithfully represent the world’s most powerful democracy, unencumbered by fear of harming his own companies.”
The suit seeks an injunction to force Trump to stop violating the Constitution, but leaves it up to the court to decide how that should be accomplished.
Folks, this is not an article that pleases me to have to write about, yet pretty much everyone in the ‘wired world’ will know that what I am going to say is the truth. Most everyone knows that it is a trait of almost all (I’m being nice) American politicians to have a forked tongue. Last November in the elections the American people were basically given a choice between two people that were well known for being very crooked and habitual liar’s. There really was no way to win if the voter was looking for an honest, non-habitual liar to be our leader. The DNC rigs their side of elections via using the so-called ‘Super Delegates’ to make sure that who they want and only whom their party leaders want will be their Candidate for President. I honestly believe that if the DNC leadership had acted in a Constitutional manner that Bernie Sanders would have not only beaten out Ms. Hillary, he would have quite easily beaten out Mr. Trump last November. So, in a sense I do blame the DNC for Mr. Trump sitting in Our Oval Office.
Today’s New York Times headline says that Mr. Trump will testify under oath that he is not a liar but that former FBI Director James Comey is. I personally believe that it is Mr. Trump who tells everyone, not just the people that he has surrounding him, but everyone, so many lies everyday that he has proven over and over again that he can’t remember what he lies about one day to the next. I am simply a person who would like to have all people in every government in the world to be honest with the people they govern, yet I think we all know that is just a fantasy. I personally believe that Mr. Trump is the most clueless, ignorant, lying, egomaniac’s that has ever set foot in Our Oval Office. I know that statement is really saying a lot, I never really thought that we could ever have a bigger idiot than George W. Bush as our President but then up steps Mr. Trump. To me it is still a debate which family is more crooked though, the Bush family, the Clinton family, or the Trump family.
I have no doubt that if Mr. Trump does go through with testifying under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee (if he isn’t also lying about doing it) that he will lie many times during that event. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Democrat or a Republican, but I am a voter. I like everyone else, under our current two-party system we voters can either not vote, or we can vote for one of the two main party candidates, or they can do like I did last November and vote for a third-party candidate whom we know in advance has no chance of winning. So, ‘We The People’ are put into the position of choosing which habitual liar we want as our ‘Leader.’ Over the last year or so I have been closely watching Mr. James Comey the now former Director of the FBI and I have found him to be one of the most honest, sincere and intelligent people I have ever come across. Mr. Trump on the other hand has totally proven to the whole world that he is basically clueless of real world realities which in part has shined a huge spotlight on his lack of basic knowledge and on his continues lying.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT)
President Donald Trump is playing a dangerous game. He is adding a very disruptive ingredient to his governing approach – potentially alienating and confusing his own staff and the lawyers who are trying to defend him in his legal battle to crack down on terrorism and illegal immigration. In the process, Trump is giving everyone a window into his mind, and the view is filled with anger and an eagerness for combat, not unity or conciliation.
Trump is using Twitter to raise doubts about his own Justice Department and, indirectly, about Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his choice for that job. There are now media reports that Sessions has offered to resign and it’s not clear where he stands with his boss.
In addition, Republican lawyers warn that Trump’s tweets are undermining his legal arguments to uphold a travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries. Trump issued that ban with an executive order that has been blocked by lower courts and the question is now at the Supreme Court. This week, Trump used Twitter to attack the Justice Department for what Trump said was a flawed legal strategy to persuade the high court to uphold the travel ban. Trump said the department, headed by Sessions, mistakenly issued a “watered down, politically correct” version of the executive order that the lower courts stopped earlier.
After an initial outburst against the department’s softer approach, Trump was back on Twitter Monday night, declaring: “That’s right, we need a TRAVEL BAN for certain DANGEROUS countries, not some politically correct term that won’t help us protect our people!”
Among those criticizing Trump was George Conway, who recently took himself out of consideration for a top job at Justice and who is the husband of senior Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway. “These tweets may make some ppl feel better,” George Conway wrote on Twitter, “but they certainly won’t help OSG [the Office of Solicitor General at Justice] get 5 votes in SCOTUS which his what actually matters. Sad.” George Conway later added: “I still VERY, VERY STRONGLY support POTUS, his Admin, policies, the executive order…and of course, my wonderful wife. Which is why I said what I said this morning….The pt cannot be stressed enough that tweets on legal matters…seriously undermine Admin agenda and POTUS.” Conway said those “who support him, as I do, need to reinforce that point and not be shy about it.”
Overall, Trump typically wraps his Twitter rants in an angry and dismissive tone, and his diatribes frequently go far afield from the issues that Trump says are his top priorities, such as creating jobs, cutting taxes and overhauling the healthcare system. He even got into a public feud with London Mayor Sadiq Khan over how to respond to terrorism in the wake of the lethal attacks in London a week ago.
Trump’s major legislative accomplishment so far has been winning Senate confirmation for Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, which occurred in April. Trump’s overall agenda has stalled on Capitol Hill, and his allies say he needs to spend far more time working to revive it with members of Congress. “Any time they’re not talking about the economy or jobs, they know that’s not what the electorate is looking for,” said Republican pollster David Winston, who advises GOP leaders in Congress, in an interview with the Washington Post.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Tex., told a Dallas TV station, “Unfortunately, the president has, I think, created problems for himself by his Twitter habit.” This is a commonly held view among GOP leaders in Congress.
But there appears to be a split in the White House on how seriously the public and the media should take Trump’s tweets. White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway complained to NBC that the media have “this obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president.” Sebastian Gorka, a White House national security adviser, told CNN that Trump’s tweeting is in a different category from official pronouncements. “It’s not policy,” Gorka said. “It’s social media.” Gorka didn’t clarify what that means. Yet other Trump advisers say the tweets represent the president’s true feelings and should be taken very seriously. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters, “Social media for the president is extremely important. It gives him the ability to speak directly to the people without the bias of the media filtering those types of communications.”
[PHOTOS: The Big Picture – May 2017]
Trump backed Sanders in a tweet Monday night, declaring, “The FAKE MSM [mainstream media] is working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out….Sorry folks, but if I would have relied on the Fake News of CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, washpost or nytimes, I would have had ZERO chance winning WH.” Trump likes Twitter because he can communicate directly with his followers whenever he wants and without a media screen.
Meanwhile, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, recently named special counsel at the Justice Department, is investigating potentially improper links between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian meddling in the election. Mueller’s probe will provide ongoing temptations for Trump to lose his temper on Twitter, further jeopardizing the president’s congressional agenda and drawing attention away from his top priorities.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)
“The president tweeted on Friday after I got fired that I’d better hope there are not tapes,” Comey said. He said he woke up on Monday thinking that if there are tapes, there might be corroboration of Comey’s account. Comey said he asked “a friend of mine to share” a memo he had written about his conversation with Trump “with a reporter.”
Comey said the memo was one he had written about his Oval Office conversation with Trump in which the president had expressed a desire that the Flynn probe be dropped.
He said the person he asked to share the information was “a good friend of mine who’s a professor at Columbia Law School. “I thought it might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.”
Asked by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) why he felt he had the authority to do that, Comey replied, “as a private citizen, I felt free to share that. I thought it was very important to get it out.”
Comey said he used someone else to share the information because he was worried, with reporters camped out at his home, that giving the information to a reporter directly “would be like feeding seagulls at the beach.’’
The friend is Daniel Richman, a former federal prosecutor. He confirmed his role but declined further comment. The reporter is Michael Schmidt of the New York Times.
A special counsel was appointed — Robert S. Mueller III, who is a former colleague of Comey — and Comey has provided him with his memos, he testified Thursday.
Comey also blasted the Trump administration for bad-mouthing the bureau and his leadership to justify his firing, saying “those were lies, plain and simple’’—a stark challenge to the president’s rationale for his ouster.
A former federal prosecutor, Comey said he took detailed notes of his private talks with the president, a practice that was a departure from his practice with Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama. Comey said he did so because he wanted to make a clear record of what was said.
He said he took copious notes because he was “honestly concerned’’ that the president might lie about what had been said in their meeting. He kept doing so for future conversations, and the two spoke in private a total of nine times before Comey was fired, he said.
Comey sat grim-faced at a witness table before the Senate Intelligence Committee shortly after 10 a.m. as the committee chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), began the hearing by calling for a “very open and candid discussion’’ about the “strained relationship’’ between the president and Comey. Comey’s written account of those discussions, made public on Wednesday, have fueled the debate over whether the president may have attempted to obstruct justice by pressuring the FBI director about a sensitive investigation.
“This is not a witch hunt, this is not fake news,’’ said the senior Democrat on the panel, Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.). “This is an effort to protect our country from a new threat that quite frankly will not go away anytime soon.’’
Comey began his testimony by saying he became “confused and increasingly concerned’’ about the public explanations by White House officials for his firing on May 9, particularly after the president said he was thinking about the Russia investigation when he decided to fire him.
He wasted little time repudiating White House statements that he was fired in part because of low morale among FBI employees, and those employees’ supposedly soured attitude toward his leadership.
“The administration then chose to defame me and more importantly the FBI by saying that the organization was in disarray, that it was poorly led,’’ Comey said. “Those were lies, plain and simple. And I’m so sorry that the FBI workforce had to hear them, and I’m so sorry the American people were told them.’’
The former director also said that Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch asked him last year to refer to the Clinton email probe as a “matter,” rather than an “investigation.”
Comey said he was concerned by Lynch’s direction to refer to it as a “matter” because the wording too closely tracked how the Clinton campaign was trying to describe the FBI investigation.
The former FBI director said he thought the wording used by Lynch “looked silly’’ but decided it was “not a hill worth dying on.’’
But, he acknowledged, “it gave the impression that the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way the campaign” was referring to it. “That was inaccurate,” he said. “That gave me a queasy feeling.”
Comey wrote in his testimony that Trump told him that “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty” in a private White House dinner conversation in January.
“I didn’t move, speak, or change my facial expression in any way during the awkward silence that followed,” Comey wrote. “We simply looked at each other in silence. The conversation then moved on, but he returned to the subject near the end of our dinner.”
Comey said the conversation, in which Trump raised the question of whether Comey intended to stay as FBI Director, despite their three prior discussions about him doing so, raised concerns in his mind.
“My common sense told me what’s going on here is he’s looking to get something in exchange for granting my request to stay in the job,’’ Comey testified.
In testimony broadcast live on national television networks, Comey described his state of mind as he tried to navigate a series of awkward conversations with the president about the investigation into possible coordination between Trump associates and Russian operatives.
The former FBI director made clear he felt the discussions were problematic and improper, in that Trump repeatedly pressing him about specific investigations that involved people close to the president.
After his January dinner when the two discussed loyalty, Comey and the president had another discussion in February at the White House. A number of senior officials met in the Oval Office on Feb. 14 to discuss terrorism. At the end of the meeting, according to Comey, the president asked everyone to leave but Comey.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions lingered behind until the president told him, too, to leave, Comey said.
“My sense was the attorney general knew he shouldn’t be leaving which is why he was lingering,’’ said Comey. “I knew something was about to happen which I should pay very close attention to.’’
Once they were alone, the president told Comey he hoped he could let go of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had been forced out of that job a day earlier.
“When it comes from the president, I took it as a direction,’’ said Comey. He said he was shocked and concerned about the president’s request, but decided not to tell Sessions about it because he expected Sessions would soon recuse himself from the Russia probe, which he did days later.
Comey did later complain to Sessions that he should not again be left alone with the president
His account made clear that his relationship with Trump was fraught from their very first meeting, which occurred before the inauguration, when he the president-elect that a dossier of unsubstantiated allegations against Trump had been circulating around Washington.
“I didn’t want him thinking that I was briefing him on this to sort of hang it over him in some way,’’ said Comey. “He needed to know this was being said, but I was very keen to not leave him with the impression that the bureau was trying to do something to him.’’
Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly tried to learn more about any conversations between Trump and officials in which the president tries to gain help pushing back against the FBI’s Russia investigation. On Wednesday, two of the country’s top intelligence officials went before the Senate Intelligence Committee and refused to discuss the specifics of conversations with the president, frustrating several lawmakers. Based on the testimony already released, Comey will have no such hesitation on Thursday.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
(CNN) Fired FBI Director James Comey aimed a dagger blow at Donald Trump Wednesday, saying the President had demanded his loyalty, pressed him to drop a probe into ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn and repeatedly pressured him to publicly declare that he was not under investigation.
Armed with a new compass and an old map, ready to remap and see the world from a perspective I didn't know exists.
my writing junkyard
Challenging ideas are explored to see new actionable perspectives on relevant social issues, in this traveler space.
Sharing News, Views & Petitions Regards Animal Abuse. Plus Various Animal Stories From Around The World
Yang Pernah Mbuat Aku Bingung
The place to discover fine new books to read
Exploring sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult novels.
Journeys into Fun
Unlimbited Tree Service was started with one goal in mind: To enhance the beauty and value of residential and commercial properties while ensuring the safety of their occupants. With Unlimbited, you know that you're getting the very best.
4 out of 5 dentists recommend this WordPress.com site
Love starts right now
"Dubito, ergo cogito, cogito ergo sum."_ René Descartes
Be where your heart belongs...
One voice amongst many. Observing and participating in the great transformation of humanity from a positive perspective.
looking for the adventure in life
Beauty is all around you
Pastreaza in sufletul tau , doar momentele frumoase si langa tine doar oamenii, care te pretuiesc cu adevarat!
eu trăiesc, când să fiu supărat
He restores my soul: He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Just another WordPress.com site
because life in NYC is too noteworthy to be silent!
Musings on this crazy, wonderful life...
Random Oinks in the Dark
Cybersecurity education and service
Matters of the Smith-Atwood family
Rebelling against a culture that values assimilation over individuality.
Political Commentary, Short Stories, & Poetry
A blog about Qoran and Islam
What is the Church?
Follow your dreams
Trending Technology Renewables
La strada giusta è quel sentiero che parte dal Cuore e arriva ovunque
A Sentimental Journey
ASOCIATIA PENTRU ANTROPOLOGIE URBANA DIN ROMAN
identità luoghi scritture del '900 toscano
my learning journey
My family of original and early settlers from the Old World to the New World to Oklahoma
A Literary Paradox
Projetos artísticos, pessoais, idéias, opiniões e reflexões sobre arte, cultura, educação, filosofia, livros e ciência.
The musings of a Londoner, now living in Norfolk