An Important Point About Director Comey’s Testimony Today

Over the weekend, Benjamin Wittes at Lawfare, provided a primer on how to interpret FBI Director Comey’s testimony today. This is based on Wittes’s past observation of Director Comey’s behavior in similar matters.

But free as I am from the shackles of any actual knowledge, let me offer readers the following user’s guide to Comey’s testimony, which can be summed up in one simple sentence: Comey’s communicativeness with the committee—and through it with the public—will almost certainly be inversely proportional to the seriousness of the Russia investigation.

That is, if Comey says a lot, makes a lot of news on Russia matters, and cheers a lot of anti-Trump hearts by maximally embarassing the President for his outrageous comments on Obama’s alleged wiretapping of Trump Tower, that will very likely be a sign that Comey has relatively little to protect in terms of investigative equities in the Russia matter and is thus free to vent. Conversely, a quiet, reserved Comey—one whose contrast with the relatively loquatious FBI director who talked at length about the Clinton email matters will infuriate a lot of liberals and frustrate those who want to know what’s going on with Russia—may well spell trouble for the President.

A sure sign that the Russia Connection is not that big a deal is if Comey talks about it.

In the third scenario, Russia is a very big deal. Comey, in other words, has significant investigative equities to protect and he believes that he needs to be there in order to protect them—in other words, that he has a responsibility to not get himself fired because of his anger about the Trump tweets (or anything else) because he has to make sure the investigation can proceed unimpeded. In this situation, I would expect him to be minimally verbal. He may have to answer yes or no questions in certain instances, including about the truth of the wiretapping allegations, but he will refuse to answer a lot of questions. He will make as little news as humanly possible. He will be exceptionally spare with his opinions. He will make a point of not antagonizing the President. Lots of people will leave disappointed.

If I were advising Trump, this is the scenario that would scare me most. We know, both from the hospital room testimony and from the Clinton email testimony, how Comey behaves when he feels at liberty to speak. We also know he’s angry right now and would presumably love a chance to defend the integrity of his agency and his agents. If he passes up that opportunity, I will read that as a sign that he is biting his lip very hard because there’s something more important at stake.

I highly recommend you click across for Wittes’s full analysis. It provides some very useful and important context to today’s testimony.

231 replies
  1. 1
    cain says:

    Gosh, I guess I’m the only one who didn’t know that John was dating. Heh.

    Also Comey can fuck off, the man brought in Cheeto Caligula and the Nazi Brigade into all this. Grr.

    That said I understand the politics of hte situation and Im hoping for a quiet Comey. We can all use the break.

  2. 2
    jl says:

    @cain: Comey hasn’t said a word about that. I guess big news coming soon!

  3. 3
    Lee says:

    I did not watch the testimony but from what I’ve read he confirmed that Russia meddled in the election in support of Trump.

  4. 4
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Lee: Yes. I was unable to watch the testimony as I was on a work related call. But my understanding from seeing reporting on it is that he was pretty tight lipped about what is and is not going on.

  5. 5
    LAO says:

    He was (is) fairly circumspect today but I still expect that he will be fired soon. Trump and his enablers’ don’t care about optics.

  6. 6
    jl says:

    Another question is what the GOPer bag men, shills and Trump flunkies (which is what they are revealing themselves to be) know. Why the ridiculous obsession, still, with trying to smear Democrats and cover for Trump.

    They know something and figure throwing up dust is best defense, or they don’t and are willing to way way out on a long limb to to protect the idiot in the WH, or they have been so obsessed with BS for long,that it has rewired their brains into permanent damage?

  7. 7
    Mnemosyne says:

    I honestly don’t trust Comey as far as I can throw him. I strongly suspect him of doing his best to crush the investigation, if only to protect himself.

    Comey put Trump into office. Full stop. Expecting him to allow his department to then remove the very president that Comey personally placed into office by his interference seems naive in the extreme.

  8. 8
    LAO says:

    @jl: It’s pretty simple. The GOP sees the opportunity of a lifetime — 2 years of total control of Federal government and most of the state houses — to push an agenda that is not actually popular. If they have to embrace Trump to accomplish this, than so be it.

  9. 9
    Capri says:

    My wish is that congress actually ACTS on the information they receive. I doubt it will be granted.

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Coming on the heels of the revelations that Bharara was filed after opening an investigation into Secretary Price, being immune to optics may still be a bridge too far. While it is clear that the GOP members of the Intel committee had all coordinated their talking points and questions in advance, the overlap with the President’s and the White House’s and Infowars and Drudge’s is going to raise further questions. As I wrote last Fall before the election based on how the news media was covering this, other than FOX, especially the old timers who were beginning to make actual Watergate comparisons: this has legs. The news media isn’t going to let up on this.

  11. 11
    LAO says:

    @Mnemosyne: Comey — for whatever reason — sees himself as the “last honest man” in Washington. I don’t think he’d have a problem bringing down Trump.

  12. 12
    cain says:

    @LAO: Yeah, but the chaos that comes out of it will put them (hopefully) out of power and we’ll put everything back. The trick is to do it before any of our supreme court justices die.

  13. 13
    Mary G says:

    I couldn’t find the remote and wasn’t at the computer, so I am cheered to read that he didn’t say much and Wittes’ analysis. Thanks for the link, Adam. I have never heard of that lawfare blog, but I am seeing their name all over twitter recently.

    @LAO: You’re right, Trump will see his not agreeing that Obama had Britain wiretap Trump tower and not debunking all the Russia rumors as disloyalty and he can’t have that.

    I found the article in the WaPo about the commissars they’ve put in all the agencies alarming: White House installs political aides at Cabinet agencies to be Trump’s eyes and ears.

  14. 14
    LAO says:

    @cain: Totally agree — we stand as strong as we can for 2 years and then work assiduously to get out the vote and send those f*ckers home.

  15. 15
    germy says:

    Washington Post: White House installs political aides at Cabinet agencies to be Trump’s eyes and ears

    This shadow government of political appointees with the title of senior White House adviser is embedded at every Cabinet agency, with offices in or just outside the secretary’s suite.

  16. 16
    Keith G says:

    The Russia story maybe really big or maybe very little. It really doesn’t matter. The bigger issue is that it is policy that is damning this administration and the Congressional GOP.

    It might be a better avenue not to attack Trump on his personal foibles since we have already seen last November that it really doesn’t matter or on the Russian issue since it might turn out to be much smoke and only a slight bit of fire. Meanwhile, across the board, Trump’s policies are barbaric and even murderous.

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Correct. I’m not going to repost, for the umpteenth time, how Comey views himself, how that effects how he does his job, and how that can, sometimes like last year, make him easy to predict and manipulate.

    Wittes ways in:

  18. 18
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I agree — the Russia story/investigation is not going away.

  19. 19
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    This has legs. The news media isn’t going to let up on this.

    If anything, their interest seems to ratchet up by the week. And rightly so: there are no good explanations for all of this. The entire administration continues to lie about everything, and about Russia most especially. There are sooo many angles to pursue, too. I wish the press well, along with the FBI counterintelligence unit and the IC in general. Just get it out there and expose every single one of the Rs who were in on this and stalled/obstructed this for so long.

  20. 20
    Immanentize says:

    @LAO: and Adam: I found this construction very interesting:

    I’ve been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm…

    This is the run in to the big reveal that they are investigating both Russian attempts to sway the election and “coordination” between the Russians and the Trump campaign. When he says this, he means the Attorney General, Sessions. But Sessions has recused himself? Maybe? So who would have authorized that amazingly tightly worded comment? Regardless, Session knew what would be said.

  21. 21
    Jeffro says:

    @germy: Gee, I wonder what country they got THAT idea from…

  22. 22
    Mister Forkbeard says:

    Since I don’t think Adam posted this, Wittes was liveblogging the hearing. It’s interesting reading and a good companion to his earlier article on how to assess the liveblog itself: https://www.lawfareblog.com/video-and-liveblog-hpsci-hearing-russian-active-measures-investigation

  23. 23
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Mary G: Wittes is one of the founders. I knew one of the other ones. It is very useful and informative. Wittes knows his business, as do all the other authors there, whether conservative or liberal.

  24. 24
    Timurid says:

    @LAO: When you’ve survived more than a dozen gaffes and scandals that would have reduced a mere mortal candidate or President to ash, it’s easy to reach the logical conclusion that optics are for the little people.

  25. 25
    Immanentize says:

    @jl: It is because of what Ryan and others openly say — this is their best chance in a generation (and maybe forever again) to undo the New Deal and the Great Society advances.

  26. 26
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Mary G:

    I found the article in the WaPo about the commissars they’ve put in all the agencies alarming: White House installs political aides at Cabinet agencies to be Trump’s eyes and ears.

    Only one (DoD) called theirs “the commissar” but now that the WaPo has made it known, the other such agents will all henceforth be known as commissars, or some similarly-perjorative term . (Good work WaPo!)

  27. 27
    Haydnseek says:

    Will Comey be the dog that didn’t bark?

  28. 28
    Jeffro says:

    Also would just like to note that apparently Spicey said today, with a straight face, that Trump’s constant golfing is different than Obama’s occasional golfing because…yes, sit down, you’ll need a good sturdy chair under you…”it’s different because how [Trump] uses the game of golf to advance US interests.”

    Yes…our nation’s top diplomat (you know, the one with “the best words”?) is out there hustling for YOU, America! Now watch this drive…

  29. 29
    Immanentize says:

    @LAO: Oh, I see you already said what I later said but I managed to say it less intelligently….

  30. 30
    LAO says:

    @Immanentize: That caught my attention too — it wasn’t Sessions, I saw in a Tweet is was an Acting AG. But can’t find to confirm.

  31. 31
    jl says:

    @Jeffro: It’s well known that body surfing in Southern California and Hawaii is the presidential sport that best advances US Naval warfare capability. Waiting to see Trump do that.

  32. 32
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @germy: The guy they stuck at Homeland is both nuts and not really who he claims to be.

    Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.

  33. 33
    catclub says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    if only to protect himself

    and

    would presumably love a chance to defend the integrity of his agency and his agents

    I am not sure his regard for image reaches as far as his agents, but it sure reaches to himself pretty well.

  34. 34
    Kay says:

    Fox News‏Verified account @FoxNews 28 Oct 2016
    @KellyannePolls on HRC: “If you’re under your 2nd FBI investigation in the same year then you do have a…corruption & an ethics problem.”

    Some fuck ups are too big to come back from and Comey’s is one of them. He did this. I question his judgment. Everyone should. He showed extremely poor judgment when it mattered. You sometimes don’t get two attempts. It doesn’t matter if he’s the greatest in the world on an ordinary day if he fucks it all up with his one huge challenge. What is this about, anyway? Is this about him now rescuing his reputation? Great! He’s a real public servant let me tell you.

  35. 35
    Immanentize says:

    @LAO: But that means that at least the career people in counterintel — who have always really impressed me as boyscouts unlike FBI field officers of whom many are cowboys — are in the process and are carefully wording what we already know — and what Comey told the Senators last week, in the most careful yet true language possible. Comey was not freelancing at all today.

    ETA That Comey being on a tight leash, whether of his own making or not, suggests how serious this shit will get/has gotten.

  36. 36
    Immanentize says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Kelly? Or the Commisar? Or both? :-)

  37. 37
    tobie says:

    @LAO: Yes, I’ve heard several places that the person supervising this is the Acting Deputy AG Dana Boente. He replaced Sally Yates, as Acting AG, after she was fired and before Session was appointed. He said he would defend the Muslim ban until Sessions replaced him. The evidence must have been pretty overwhelming if he approved this investigation. Boente is no friend of the left.

  38. 38
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    Thank you so much, Adam, for your expertise and effort here! Your analysis and commentary are invaluable.

  39. 39
    Jeffro says:

    This made me laugh: did y’all know Paul Manafort played a very limited role in Trump’s campaign?

    Even though he was only the, you know, CAMPAIGN MANAGER.

    Also, too: Carter Page and Roger Stone were “hangers-on”

    Oh what a great start to the week…

  40. 40
    LAO says:

    @tobie: thanks for the info.

    @Immanentize: Having dealt with Justice during “investigatory stages,” I can attest that this does, indeed, feel serious.

  41. 41
    Immanentize says:

    @LAO: likewise

  42. 42
    JMG says:

    @tobie: He may be a great friend to the idea of staying out of jail himself. He didn’t authorize the investigation which started in July 2016, just allowed Comey to state on the record what Comey’d already allowed to be leaked in news stories. Ordering Comey to drop any investigation is pretty prima facie obstruction of justice.

  43. 43
    Kay (not the front pager) says:

    I first came to Balloon Juice during the investigation into the betrayal of CIA agent Valarie Plame Wilson. One of the things I remember from that shameful period is how Carl Rove changed his story repeatedly. It was infuriating, and many of us wondered how he managed to avoid being prosecuted either for perjury or lying to the FBI. I was surprised to find out that Grand Jury witnesses were able to “correct their testimony” to avoid prosecution.

    I keep thinking about this every time one of Trump’s minions changes his (and it always seem to be ‘his’) story about contact with the Russians. Flynn is the most transparent about his changes, but there have been changes from Page, Manafort, Stone, and others. It makes me wonder if there is a secret Grand Jury going on already.

    ETA Oh yeah, and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions!

  44. 44
    dogwood says:

    @tobie:
    Boente was appointed by Obama so he probably isn’t a friend of the right either. I don’t think we know much of anything about his politics, though. He was promoted by Holder as well.

  45. 45
    Jeffro says:

    I think it’s time we got a pool going (kind of hard to make a bracket, although that would be apropos for March): who will roll over first, and then how much jail time will each ‘perp’ get?

    (just kidding on that last one; nobody powerful does jail time any more)

  46. 46
    LAO says:

    @Immanentize: I figured (but didn’t want to be presumptuous).

  47. 47
    LAO says:

    @Jeffro: Mantafort. My money’s on Mantafort.

  48. 48
    James Powell says:

    @Lee:

    from what I’ve read he confirmed that Russia meddled in the election in support of Trump.

    Was Comey asked to confirm that Comey meddled in the election in support of Trump?

  49. 49
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bill Arnold: I believe the word you want is Zampolit.

  50. 50
    the Conster, la Citoyenne says:

    @Jeffro:

    Roger Stone is as unstable as *45, and apparently up to his ass in alligators. He’s my first choice.

  51. 51
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: It is either Boente or the other one.

  52. 52
    Kay (not the front pager) says:

    @Immanentize: I think the approval would come from the Deputy Attorney General. The Trump admin. Deputy has not been approved yet, so it would be the acting Deputy, a holdover from the Obama admin. I can’t remember his name, but he became the Deputy when the previous acting Deputy was fired for not defending the Muslim Ban.

  53. 53
    Chris says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Thank you. I was trying to remember the exact word, but all I could come up with was “chekist.”

  54. 54
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Immanentize: The commissar.

  55. 55
    LAO says:

    @the Conster, la Citoyenne: Stone is too unstable and has zero credibility. The DOJ would never give him a cooperation agreement — he’d make the worst witness ever! Although, damn, it would certainly be entertaining.

  56. 56
    Immanentize says:

    @LAO: @Jeffro: As mentioned above — Manafort was just thrown under the bus by Spicer, so I think that is a good guess. Additionally, Ukraine may be requesting extradition, adding to the pressure for him to deal here. Although Carter Page seems either too ridiculous or too easily swayed not to also be a prime candidate for flipping.

    And yes, I have represented flippers (as I am sure LAO has) and the critical thing to remember is that he who flips first lands best. There is no ribbon for flipping second.

  57. 57
    Jeffro says:

    @LAO: Who knows…so many choices!

    Here’s Matt Yglesias on Twitter just now btw:

    Spicer’s position is that Trump had nothing to do with his campaign’s chairman or his national security advisor?

    hoo boy!

  58. 58
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The guy they stuck at Homeland is both nuts and not really who he claims to be.

    Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies

    OK, no questions, I’m good with that. But holy cow, that’s FQing weird to see: “not really who he claims to be.” How stupid is it to put a mystery guy into a security community – like all those folks can’t run a background, in the background. I suppose he wears gloves all day to avoid leaving fingerprints.

    No question marks, not even a !!! for ya. But still – really strange! Ok, there’s one.

  59. 59
    Immanentize says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Danke! Alles klar, Herr Kommissar….

  60. 60
    Timurid says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    So the Republican Congressmen who vote against RyanCare are going to feel the kiss of a Tokarev muzzle on the backs of their necks?

  61. 61
    Seth Owen says:

    @germy: commissars? Right? Why not use the Russian word?

  62. 62
  63. 63
    trollhattan says:

    @Immanentize: @Adam L Silverman:
    Sensors indicate a certain Tom Bossert may be in that particular area….

  64. 64
    Immanentize says:

    @Jeffro: I knew it would!

  65. 65
    tobie says:

    @JMG: Thanks for the elaboration. You’re absolutely right. He didn’t authorize the investigation, only Comey’s statement to Congress today that an investigation is happening. Precision matters here. I should have been more careful.

  66. 66
    Ferd ofthe Nort says:

    Comey – let us suppose…
    He is in process of Trump investigation. This is now confirmed by statement.
    He is confident HRC will win. Many people were.
    He knows the Weiner computer stuff is about to be dumped by others. It will damage /skew his Russia investigation.

    He does his letter/ congressional appearance to keep a Russia investigation link live.

    OOPS wrong call
    Now he is having to play fixit

    He seems to not be letting go of Russia investigation. I would be wondering if he is trying to deal with investigation goes sideways issues- something I have had to deal with. Bad place and you start off pissed.

  67. 67
    trollhattan says:

    @Immanentize:
    But…I’ve been advised Ukraine is nothing but a hotbed of nazis who, after overthrowing their rightfully elected leader have turned the poor nation into a dictatorship and mafia destination resort. Only Vlad can help them now.

  68. 68
    artem1s says:

    Joe Scarborough’s days of underestimating Trumps administration have certainly come to a middle…
    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/0.....nts=disqus

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Kay:

    I’m with you. Comey fucked up when it mattered, and any attempts to rescue the situation now don’t make up for the fact that we’re in this fucked-up situation thanks to his interference in the first place.

    I also worry that Comey’s “integrity” demands that he install a Christianist president, namely Pence.

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @J R in WV: Basically when he first came on my radar a couple of years ago I checked my CENTCOM and SOCCENT connections, as well as my Navy Intel connections. No one had ever heard of him. And his bio doesn’t state what rank he achieved, just that he was a career Navy Intel officer focusing on the CENTCOM AOR who retired at a senior level.

    Every retired Navy Intel officer I know of, especially the senior ones, tell you their ranks in their bios. Captain or commander. Master Chief or Senior Chief. The way his bio is worded has all sorts of red flags. When you claim to have founded an intel program at SOCCENT and a former SOCCENT Deputy Commander doesn’t know who you are, you aren’t who you say you are.

  71. 71

    @Adam L Silverman: You had high hopes for Kelly and Mattis. Kelly stonewalled the Democrats, when they questioned him about deportation policies.

    I don’t deport anyone. ICE doesn’t deport anyone. The law deports people

    He also denied in spite of proof to the contrary that DREAMers are being deported.
    And he is the smart and principled one?

  72. 72
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Seth Owen: Zampolit.

  73. 73
    gvg says:

    @Kay: The problem is that if Comey quits or is fired, Trump appoints his sucessor so we have already under protest accepted that we are better off with him on the job than off. It sucks. Also Obama couldn’t fire him because anyone who got through Congress then would have been worse we decided.
    I guess since the experts say he can be manipulated by his pride in being honest, we have to ….butter him up. yuck.

    In 10 years when we are all safely past this point we can write scathing books about him, but not right now. Its not fair.

  74. 74
    Chris says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Uh.

    Is it me, or is that in itself at least as worthy of a full investigation as anything that’s going on with Comey right now?

  75. 75
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I have no idea what is up with Kelly.

  76. 76
    danielx says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I don’t know how he views himself, but there were moments today when he appeared to be giving birth to broken beer bottles.

  77. 77
    catclub says:

    @Ferd ofthe Nort:

    He knows the Weiner computer stuff is about to be dumped by others. It will damage /skew his Russia investigation.

    ummm, the second one really does not follow from the first one.

  78. 78
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Chris: Who knows. I’ve no doubt the guy was a Navy Intel guy. I have no doubt he was assigned at CENTCOM. I have no doubt he has inflated his bio and has no idea what he’s talking about.

  79. 79
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Immanentize: @LAO: I agree with you both that this has all the hallmarks of quite serious that may not be obvious to those without the same experience of how “oh shit, this is serious” looks.

    TL;DR – Yup, this is real.

  80. 80
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @danielx: I have only seen clips, but yes.

  81. 81
    Immanentize says:

    Thanks, Adam. Off to class — keep it inspiring…

  82. 82
    catclub says:

    @gvg:

    In 10 years when we are all safely past this point we can write scathing books about him,

    if, not when.

  83. 83
    danielx says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    or politrook

  84. 84
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @LAO: The hilarity of Stone could be dangerous! But no fuckin way he’d get a deal because of just that.

    @Immanentize: Indeed there’s always a race to get the best deal, and no participation trophies are given. But are these putzes too arrogant to figure that out, as in, too arrogant to consult counsel? All the smart criminals do.

  85. 85
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Hmmm.

  86. 86
    lamh36 says:

    Notice how quiet the Trump “true believers” who voted Trump both won’t admit it…have gone from “give him a chance” to almost complete silence. i’m not talking the crazy loyal 27% but those “soft” true believers that voted against HRC rather than for Trump…any one noticing the silence?

  87. 87
    Jeffro says:

    I’d just like to point out that at this moment The Onion has a piece up about Trump being restrained from trying to drill holes in his own head (to remove Obama listening devices).

    “But…but…I HAVE TO GET THEM OUT!!!”

    I had to read it three times to be sure it was The Onion.

  88. 88
    bmoak says:

    @Jeffro:

    The Falco version or the After The Fire cover?

  89. 89
    Yutsano says:

    @bmoak: Better be Falco. Always go with the Austrian in this situation.

  90. 90
    Tom Q says:

    @Mnemosyne: I’m not actively disagreeing with your take, and god knows it was my feeling on the morning of November 9th and for some time after: that Comey had essentially stolen the election. That COULD still be the case.

    But it’s also just possible that Comey was in a box on October 28th: that he knew the NY FBI office had leaked to GOP sources, and they were going to release the info along with claiming he was purposely squelching it in order to elect Hillary. Which might have been even worse optics for the Clinton campaign in the final days.

    Because, recall: Comey put a super-rush/endless overtime push on the investigation into the Weiner texts, and released a full exoneration the Sunday before the election. An exoneration most thought at the time would work to Hillary’s advantage. I was at my dentist the afternoon of Monday the 7th, and, hearing stocks were rallying heavily, my dentist said “Wall Street knows who’s winning the election” — and he sure didn’t mean Trump. It appeared the bullet had been dodged.

    That all this turned out wrong — that, to our shock, the damage done by the initial Comey letter was just fatal enough in WI, PA & MI to flip the election — has made us view things differently in retrospect, but it’s possible to have a slightly more benign view of what Comey did. (His earlier-in-the-year press conference is much harder to justify.)

    Again: not saying I believe this without equivocation. But it’s enough to make me think Comey MIGHT be on the up-and-up now.

  91. 91

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: A couple of weeks back, Josh Marshall also said this looked big to him and compared it to a black hole. You can’t see the hole but you can see its effects on everything circling it. A big scandal gets investigated from the outside in. They pick off people like Flynn, for instance, and go on to the next one. Marshall said people who say the coverup was worse than the crime are often wrong–you get assiduous covering up because people know or suspect that what’s at the center is bad.

  92. 92
    Adam L Silverman says:

  93. 93
    rikyrah says:

    Kay,

    I don’t know if you saw this in the other thread:

    What is the edge or benefit Russia gains from an alliance with US conservatives? What do they win and who loses?

    Well, already, the Russians already got the steel contract for the Keystone pipeline.

    The release of the sanctions is worth 500 HUNDRED BILLION DOLLARS – the Exxon deal.

    500 HUNDRED BILLION, KAY?

    Everything else…
    Diminishment of the USA
    Breakup of NATO…
    Ability to go unchecked in his region…

    This is icing on the cake – the White Whale is 500 BILLION.

  94. 94
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @LAO:

    Trump and his enablers’ don’t care about optics.

    I’m guessing they can’t afford to… to me, it looks like it’s time to circle the wagons as far as the GOP is concerned…

    When the WH delivered its ‘evidence’ on the alleged wiretapping Friday afternoon and the Republicans in the know didn’t immediately issue a statement supporting Trump’s claims, I kinda knew they didn’t have anything… it’s like a tell in poker… if the WH had turned over anything even remotely damning, I suspect it would have been all over the evening news, coast to coast…

    Silence = nada… on that one…

    And when Trump rushes to the to Twitter machine to decry more FAKE NEWS! this morning AND also try to say the leaks of classified material were the real story, it’s hard not to feel he was just trying to distract us from the Russian stuff… also a tell…

    If the Russian story really were a nothingburger, I’m guessing we’d be seeing the calm, collected Trump who was present after his 2005 tax return got ‘leaked’… the return said nothing and he got to damn those leakers, again… and he was awfully calm about the whole non-affair…

    Here, he’s trying a preemptive strike before the hearings even get started and he’s also complaining about CLASSIFIED INFORMATION being leaked… if the info doesn’t matter, why is he complaining? And if the info leaked does matter, why is he calling it fake? This is not the 1st time Trump has snared himself like this w/ his own words, as I recall…

  95. 95
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Yutsano:

    Better be Falco. Always go with the Austrian in this situation.

    Perfect (I would expect no less). Good to see you!

  96. 96
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Adam L Silverman: As they say in Scotland, Ooouch’mon…

    Btw… why is my prior comment in moderation? I didn’t use any banned words, that I know of?

  97. 97
    trollhattan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Cripes, it’s looking as though the Trump Administration job application is short:
    Q: Do you now work with and/or for Russians or have you done so in the past?
    If yes, you’re in! If no, how quickly can you establish a business connection with Russia?
    If within three months, you’re in!

  98. 98
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The NY AG hired former AUSA Howard Master. He happens to be a terrific prosecutor (and I never say that)!

  99. 99
  100. 100
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So were Feinstein and Hatch late last week after they got briefed…

  101. 101
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Tom Q: The chatter for a long time is that the NY Field Office is up to its eyeballs with the Bratva in NY. That if/when it ever breaks wide open it’ll make the Boston Field Office Whitey Bolger shenanigans look like a kids’ party with a pony, a pinata, and cupcakes.

  102. 102
    LAO says:

    @LAO: hired not fired. Can’t edit on phone.

  103. 103
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @rikyrah: Putin makes $1.2 trillion if sanctions get lifted. That’s what this is about.

  104. 104
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tom Q:

    Even if (and we all know that’s a big if) that’s what happened, Comey put his own ass into that sling with his little stunt press conference in July (?) about how he totally thought Hillary should have been prosecuted over her emails. Once he did that, he painted himself into a corner and let himself get manipulated by the Trumpistas. He allowed his personal hatred of Hillary to overcome his duty to this country and fucked us all over.

    Desperately trying to mop up after the disaster he created doesn’t absolve him of responsibility for that disaster.

  105. 105
    J R in WV says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Hoping myself that Dence will be as tangled in this as all the others.

  106. 106
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…: Have no idea. I just freed it.

  107. 107
    Spanky says:

    @Adam L Silverman: That had an aura of inevitability about it, but glad to see that it actually happened.

  108. 108
    Millard Filmore says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    When you claim to have founded an intel program at SOCCENT and a former SOCCENT Deputy Commander doesn’t know who you are, you aren’t who you say you are.

    Putting this in the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy universe, he must be “Control”.

  109. 109
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Good to know.

  110. 110
    rikyrah says:

    @jl:

    They know something and figure throwing up dust is best defense, or they don’t and are willing to way way out on a long limb to to protect the idiot in the WH, or they have been so obsessed with BS for long,that it has rewired their brains into permanent damage?

    This is their chance to destroy the New Deal and send this country back to the 1890’s.
    They can’t help themselves.

    Patriotism…whatever…..

  111. 111
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…:

    Or as they say in Russia, ooo blya

  112. 112
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: I fixed it for you.

  113. 113
    JPL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It appears unlikely that will happen, since there is a cloud over the administration. What will Putin do next?

  114. 114
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I’m starting to feel like Brian Blessed’s Augustus in “I, Claudius” who, when presented with evidence of his daughter Julia’s multiple infidelities, at one point yells, “Is there anyone in Rome who HASN’T slept with my daughter?”

    Only I’m yelling, “Is there anyone in the Trump administration who ISN’T sleeping with the Russians?”!

  115. 115
    Chris says:

    @rikyrah:

    True, although I think phrasing it in terms of 500 HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS is selling them short.

    Putin likes money as much as anyone else, both for him and for his country, but he’s not some piss-ant American billionaire. He’s the leader of one of the most powerful nations in the world, and he sees himself as the man who saved that nation from the Gotham-esque pit of chaos, crime, and corruption that it had become in the nineties, and is now guiding it back to its rightful place as a superpower. That means breaking free of the chains the West put on it while it was down and out, and while lifting sanctions is an important part of that, so is everything else.

    If anything’s the icing on the cake, it’s the prospect of Trump potentially turning out to be America’s Yeltsin and wrecking the country beyond even what Dubya managed, which from his point of view would only be poetic justice.

  116. 116
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @lamh36:

    Notice how quiet the Trump “true believers” who voted Trump both won’t admit it…have gone from “give him a chance” to almost complete silence.

    Yup… I noticed that too… I was trying to ‘splain that to a friend over the weekend…

  117. 117
  118. 118
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thank you.

  119. 119
    The Moar You Know says:

    #BREAKING: NY AG Schneiderman has hired Preet Bharara 2 investigate Trump…U know, US Attorney Trump just fired #TrumpRussia #JustAddZebras https://t.co/jOVMk9gaWj

    — #202-225-3121 📎 (@Riela2) March 20, 2017

    @Adam L Silverman: Oooooh, just got that feeling that you get when you’re sitting in the roller coaster and the guy throws the switch and you start feeling it move…

  120. 120
    Chris says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    @Tom Q: The chatter for a long time is that the NY Field Office is up to its eyeballs with the Bratva in NY. That if/when it ever breaks wide open it’ll make the Boston Field Office Whitey Bolger shenanigans look like a kids’ party with a pony, a pinata, and cupcakes.

    What the frakk is it with the FBI and organized crime? It didn’t start with Whitey Bulger, either. J. Edgar Hoover spent decades pretending that it didn’t exist. Considering that the mob is one of the biggest things that justifies the FBI’s existence, it may be way past time to start burrowing into how it is that the people we rely on to stop these guys seem to have repeatedly ended up in bed with them instead.

  121. 121
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Chris:

    True, although I think phrasing it in terms of 500 HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS is selling them short.

    I think the figure we’re looking at here is more like

    500 HUNDRED BILLION

    I’m guessing Putin wants to be the world’s first trillionaire and Donald’s been promised hundreds of billions for helping him get there…

  122. 122
    debit says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    I’m starting to feel like Brian Blessed’s Augustus in “I, Claudius” who, when presented with evidence of his daughter Julia’s multiple infidelities, at one point yells, “Is there anyone in Rome who HASN’T slept with my daughter?”

    Brian Blessed was yelling? How could you tell?

  123. 123
    geg6 says:

    @Yutsano:

    LOL! I love you and miss you!

  124. 124
  125. 125
    Ferd ofthe Nort says:

    @catclub: depends on the people involved in the first part.

    We do not have all the names, and there may be HRC investigations people in contact with RICO (Russian Influenced Conservative Organizations). Stuff was leaking on HRC like a machine gunned fire hose. Benghazi and emails. We know multiple Russian “operatives” were in the campaign.

    Comey wants to remain quiet before letter but has to rush to protect sources and methods in place.

    Just want to avoid Machiavellian plotting when simple error in judgement is a possible rational.

  126. 126
    HRA says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I love my NY AGs! Thanks for the news, Adam.

  127. 127
    geg6 says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…:

    You used a word for a popular card game in which bets are made. I did the same thing earlier today, talking about all the tells I was seeing today and how I’d love to play that game with these people because they suck at it.

  128. 128
    Yutsano says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Only I’m yelling, “Is there anyone in the Trump administration who ISN’T sleeping with the Russians?”!

    Oddly enough? Ben Carson. If only because A) they really have no use for him and B) he doesn’t really gain them anything anyway.

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: Between filing season and me being pretty much alone in the office (co-worker rolled her ankle and JUST returned but only in the afternoons) I’ve been a lurker at best.

    Doesn’t help I’m slammed from about now until 7pm tonight. Oi.

  129. 129
    trollhattan says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    Schneiderman is a known honey badger and Bharara is a pi$$ed just-fired employee who was apparently on a fresh hunt. Let’s see what unfolds (do they have jurisdiction to nail Price?)

  130. 130
    debit says:

    @Yutsano: I feel for you guys. I called collections on behalf of a client the other day and was on hold for two and a half hours.

  131. 131
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, here’s my big fear:

    For the past 30+ years, Republicans and conservative Democrats conspired together to prevent the Republicans from paying any price for their corruption. They squashed the Iran-Contra scandal and prevented the war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan from being fully investigated. The rationale for that was that our country was not going to be able to handle the evidence of how corrupt one of our two major parties really is.

    So I really don’t see any reason to be optimistic that, this time, the corruption of the Republicans is going to be fully revealed for all to see and that they will be punished. I think they’re all going to skate, again, and we’ll still be dealing with these same corrupt assholes 20 years from now just like Cheney and Rumsfeld kept re-appearing.

    But, then, I’m dealing with a very nasty cold today and perhaps it is making me cynical.

  132. 132
    The Moar You Know says:

    Notice how quiet the Trump “true believers” who voted Trump both won’t admit it…have gone from “give him a chance” to almost complete silence. i’m not talking the crazy loyal 27% but those “soft” true believers that voted against HRC rather than for Trump…any one noticing the silence?

    @lamh36: Not so much as I live in an area where the Trump voters are the true NSDAP party guys anyway. What I have noticed is those folks are getting a lot shittier and meaner. I’ve got one neighbor now who, after twenty years of bliss on our street, is going to get a very unpleasant “talking to” if he tries to engage my wife again.

  133. 133
    Miss Bianca says:

    @debit: Ha ha – good point!

    O/T: How is your new little rescue fitting in to the menage?

  134. 134
    LAO says:

    @trollhattan: I think Adam may be mistaken. The AG hired Howard Master, one of Preet’s best AUSAs. I could be wrong but no way does Preet join the NY AG’s office. He’s got bigger and better prospects.

  135. 135
    geg6 says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    She got a new pup??? When did this happen? See, I pay attention to my real life for a single weekend and miss everything!

  136. 136
    catclub says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I think they’re all going to skate, again, and we’ll still be dealing with these same corrupt assholes 20 years from now

    Elliot Abrams was back again. He is never going to prison for war crimes. I think his Iran Contra stuff was almost 30 years ago, now.

    I was horrified that he was offered a top spot at State and then surprised that Trump vetoed it because he said mean things about Trump.

  137. 137
    🌷 Martin says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Focus on the states, folks. The states are fully independent governments of their own, they can move forward on things the feds are unwilling to do in GOP hands.

    And I’ll add this regarding the Trump/Russia thing: the challenge with trying to game this out is that Trumps personality is a massive unpredictable variable. He’s the kind of guy that would throw more energy into blocking an investigation of something that only makes him look bad over something that is egregiously illegal because his narcissism is only matched by his ignorance. Any theories that would have made sense under Nixon will likely fail under Trump.

  138. 138
    Jeffro says:

    @bmoak: @Yutsano: Falco, yes.

  139. 139
    debit says:

    @Miss Bianca: I, Claudius was my introduction to Brian Blessed and when he first spoke, my first thought was HELLO! I AM STAGE ACTOR, ACTING ON STAGE! CAN EVERYONE IN THE BACK HEAR ME OKAY? MINE IS A HALE AND HEARTY VOICE!

    Kelpie is doing really good. She didn’t know stairs but she’s gone from cowering at the bottom step to scampering up them. She’s very lively and cheerful and would really, really, REALLY like it if Ellie would play with her. I’m getting her a BLIND DOG harness for safety while walking and a clicker so we can start on some basic obedience.

  140. 140
    aimai says:

    @debit: We literally just watched the episode! He does yell through his entire performance.

  141. 141
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Whoa.

    Like, WHOA, whoa.

  142. 142
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @geg6: Yup…

    I don’t know if I’m just flattering myself here, but the closer I watch the players in this mess, just tracking body language and what they say or don’t say, the easier it seems to get to understand and predict what’s going on… and right now, Trump looks like he’s trying to pass a rusty anvil…

    As far as i can tell, the GOP has two choices here, bad and worse… bad is stopping this now and dumping Trump sooner than later… worse is putting it off to avoid the bad outcome… they only incur more damage…

    I agree w/ the ones who said earlier, the MSM is on this and they’re not going to back off… this much smoke, there’s a fire burning somewhere…

  143. 143
    Lyrebird says:

    @dogwood: I wish I could wade through Louise Mensch’s twitters more easily; I think she has heard/shared rumors of Boente being complicit, but I Am Not Adam and I don’t have other bases to evaluate those rumors.

  144. 144
    Miss Bianca says:

    @geg6: See below. : )

    @debit: You know, I saw that whole series when it first came out, when I was in high school – and now when I watch it again I’m going to be hearing you saying “MINE IS A HALE AND HEARTY VOICE!” Curse you, Red Baron! ; )

    Glad to hear about Kelpie – hoping Ellie comes around!

  145. 145
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    How is your new little rescue fitting in to the menage?

    I could be wrong here but I’m guessing the word you were reaching for here was: ‘menagerie’?

  146. 146
    catclub says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Putin makes $1.2 trillion if sanctions get lifted

    wow, that is a lot. The US economy is around (slightly less than) $20Tr, and the Russian economy is much smaller than that, with or without sanctions.

  147. 147
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Miss Bianca: As I’ve written several times, I should not be able to, based solely on open source reporting and documentation, place the President, members of his family, senior members of his business, senior members of his campaign, senior members of his transition, and senior members of his administration within 3 links of Putin and in many cases 2 or 1 links. But I can. And that is strange.

  148. 148
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    All electronics, cell phones excepted, will be banned from US bound flights on Royal Jordanian Air, apparently at the request of the US

    Jordan, of course, is not on trump’s ban list.

  149. 149
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…: Hey, now – *my* dictionary defines ‘menage’ as “the members of a household”. Don’t know what *yours* says!

    But “menagerie” would likely do just as well, in this instance!

  150. 150
    jharp says:

    Did not read the posts to see if this has been mentioned. Sorry if it has.

    So let me get this straight.

    The FBI was investigating the Trump campaign since July. And Clinton’s server issue at the same time..

    Why Mr. Comey, did you find it necessary to share with the public Clinton’s investigation but not Trump’s?

    And did any of the dipshits questioning Comey think to ask that question?

  151. 151
    aimai says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Really? Why am I not surprised. But look how long that took to come out? I’m not holding my breath.

  152. 152
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @jharp: I think he’s been asked at a Senate hearing, by an incredulous Angus King, who doesn’t really do incredulous. IIRC he just said, “it was a closed investigation, so it’s different”. Calvin writes the rule for Calvinball.

  153. 153
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    But I can. And that is strange.

    Right… either this is the strangest, most bizarre series of coincidinks imaginable, OOOOOOR

  154. 154
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Miss Bianca:

    Only I’m yelling, “Is there anyone in the Trump administration who ISN’T sleeping with the Russians?”!

    Pence. But that’s his job, and there’s a point at which maintaining that big a bubble of plausible deniability becomes a kind of complicity in itself.

  155. 155
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Chris: They think they’re running their informants and sources and the reality is that their informants and sources are running them.

  156. 156
    debit says:

    @geg6: I did! Kelpie is a ten year old hospice rescue from the humane society. I didn’t know her story when I went there to look at her, just that she had a condition (cancer, I found out) which would shorten her life. When they told me she was also blind from birth and has always been an outdoor dog, I started crying and said, “Sob! Take my money!”

  157. 157
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Miss Bianca: Okay… okay… so I was mistaken…

  158. 158
    Ksmiami says:

    @The Moar You Know: that’s why I could care less about trying to understand or sympathize with Trump Voters and the WWCs. I want dems to focus on registering and turning out our voters and writing good policy while crucifying the GOP. multitasking is a good thing. and I’m out of sympathy for ppl who vote out of spite.

  159. 159
    catclub says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…:

    Yup…

    Nope. I hope you are right but seriously doubt it.

  160. 160
    tobie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So I really don’t see any reason to be optimistic that, this time, the corruption of the Republicans is going to be fully revealed for all to see and that they will be punished.

    One advantage of having such a pared down caucus is that we don’t have many blue dogs left to stab us in the back in the name of protecting the Republic. This time the party might stick together because the party itself was the victim of the attack.

  161. 161
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yeah, the word “strange” just about covers the situation, if you stetch it very, very thinly…

  162. 162
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: You are correct. The tweet confused Masters and Bharara.

  163. 163
    Elie says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…:

    I think the wobble in the Trump regime is getting worse and worse and is coming from a lot of different directions… It will be difficult for the Repubs to manage a controlled smooth end to this and to protect themselves. Its going to be very difficult and messy and our country will be hurt by it (because that is what Trump is about) — but we will come through it and heal. I see nothing but mess ahead though. I agree that as Martin said upstring — the states will feed our defense and energize our efforts. They are not the least intimidated by this regime and will help us take this on.

  164. 164
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: Turns out its Bharara’s lead corruption investigator. But still quite the big deal.

  165. 165
    tobie says:

    It does blow one’s mind that Comey held the presser he did on July 5 lambasting Clinton for her supposed reckless management of her email when his own department at the time was investigating the Trump campaign for colluding with the Russians. Talk about having no sense of proportion!

  166. 166
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Lyrebird: I have no idea. Some of what she tweets doesn’t scan for me. I think she gets so worked up and excited that sometimes she’s less clear than she could be.

  167. 167
    geg6 says:

    @debit:

    Oh, that’s wonderful! I love that name!

    You are such a good person. I’m ashamed that I can’t take in the dogs with age and health issues the way you do. I’d be a total basket case. I so admire you.

  168. 168
    Chris says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Oh. That again.

    Say, that sounds sort of like our political journalists’ relationship with their sources, doesn’t it…?

    Slightly more into-the-weeds question: I always assumed that if the FBI in that place were in bed with anyone, it’d be the Five Families, not the bratvas. That’s supposed to still be the big shots of the New York underworld. If the bratvas are the ones who’ve managed to maneuver the FBI onto their side… how are the Five even still a thing, especially if it’s been going on for that long? I’d imagine they’d have been supplanted the way they once supplanted the Irish.

  169. 169
    J R in WVread their says:

    So, now I’ve read about “how to listen to Comey’s testimony” on Lawfare, and then read their liveblog of the hearing…

    So did we hear Comey being as reticent as possible? Seemed like that to me.

    That means there are a lot of people in deep trouble, right?

    I’m typing with one hand, and holding a once-feral kitty in the other that I taught to purr years ago in the other. She usually drapes over my shoulder but this time is curled into my elbow. Nearly asleep… keeps my BP better.

  170. 170
    debit says:

    @geg6: Here’s a crappy iphone pic.

  171. 171
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The question to ask now is: potential threat based on high confidence assessment of actionable intelligence or just jerking folks around? It is absurd that within 60 days we’ve reached the point where this has to be asked with a new Presidential administration.

  172. 172
    Kay says:

    Seth Abramson‏Verified account @SethAbramson 40m40 minutes ago
    BREAKING NEWS: COMEY Confirms That DNI JAMES CLAPPER Was _Not_ Briefed on #Russiagate;

    So why did he weigh in at all? I swear to God. Can NONE of these people keep quiet?

    I’m just going off spy novels here but aren’t they supposed to be good at not blabbing constantly?

    Comey with his press conferences and the rest of them with tv interviews. One hardly needs “leaks”.

  173. 173
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…: Three times is enemy action.

  174. 174
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I should have said that the tweet you relied on was wrong. 😔

  175. 175
    tobie says:

    @Kay: I’m missing something here. DNI Clapper wasn’t briefed? How can this be?
    You’d think a DNI would know about an investigation of this magnitude.

  176. 176
    jeannedalbret says:

    @Chris: err that’s “B” BILLIONS!

  177. 177
    Librarian says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The first word I thought of when I saw that was “Gauleiter.”

  178. 178
    Miss Bianca says:

    @debit: awww…SQUEE!

  179. 179
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Here is the correct information.

  180. 180
    J R in WVread their says:

    i is bein’ moderated??? Whaaaaay??

    help, please.

  181. 181
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Chris: I have no idea. Just repeating what I’ve seen/heard in other places.

  182. 182
    J R in WV says:

    I have fumbled my used name and hence am moderated. Please help!

  183. 183
    Kay says:

    @tobie:

    Who knows? It’s not like any of this is consistent. It seems to be wholly arbitrary and up to Mr. Comey.

    He wouldn’t shut up about this ongoing investigation but everything else is Top Secret:

    Jason Chaffetz‏Verified account
    @jasoninthehouse
    FBI Dir just informed me, “The FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation.” Case reopened

  184. 184
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @J R in WV: I just freed you.

  185. 185
    laura says:

    @debit: Crikey! Your heart is So BIG, it must block out the sun.

  186. 186
    LAO says:

    @debit: Congratulations! She looks adorable.

  187. 187
    les says:

    @Chris:

    Considering that the mob is one of the biggest things that justifies the FBI’s existence, it may be way past time to start burrowing into how it is that the people we rely on to stop these guys seem to have repeatedly ended up in bed with them instead.

    Perhaps the first clause explains the last. A twisted form of regulatory capture.

  188. 188
    LAO says:

    @Chris: Take it from a NY defense attorney, the Five aren’t much of a thing anymore.

  189. 189
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I had a case with him 5-6 years ago, he really is a phenomenal prosecutor and a total straight shooter.

  190. 190
    Timurid says:

    @les: A lot of it the Feds using one gang to check another and then finding out that the gorillas don’t freeze to death in winter after all.

  191. 191
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Thanks. That one handed typing got me down! Kitty gone now, will be back soon. They are like that.

  192. 192
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: And the various Eastern and Central European organized crime groups make them look very tame by comparison.

  193. 193
    J R in WV says:

    Hey, new post at Lawfare .

    Sounds interesting.

    How to read what Comey said today!

  194. 194
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So w/in THREE means enemy action?

    And when you’re down to two and then one, red lights are flashing and claxon horns are going off?

    Ya gotta hand it to the involved parties… they do have some brass balls on ’em…

    To me, one of the most damning bits here is JD Gordon saying Trump directly ordered the wording in the RNC platform in regards to the Ukraine softened after both Trump and Manafort claimed they had no idea how it happened…

    I know this has been noticed and discussed but it seems like it should have been a much bigger red flag… perhaps people will do a double take soon and go, ‘Hey… waitaminite…’

  195. 195
    Mnemosyne says:

    @debit:

    What a cutie! I can see why you were unable to resist her.

    My cousin-in-law got me to subscribe to the Facebook page of a dog that’s blind and deaf that seems to be living a pretty good life, so I think Kelpie will be happy for as long as she gets to stick around with you.

  196. 196
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So true! During a trial, 15 years or so ago, a Gambino cooperator testified against a Ukrainian gang. He described an incident at a gas station where the Ukrainians sprayed everyone (themselves and the Gambinos) with gasoline and threatened to set them all on fire unless the Gambinos willing turned over territory to them. It was crazy. They don’t give a f*ck about anything, including themselves.

  197. 197
    Hal says:

    Did any reasonable person accuse Russia of hacking voting machines and changing tallies? Seems like anew attempt to derail legitimate investigation by making it seem like people believe in conspiracy theories.

  198. 198
    bystander says:

    @J R in WV: If you have committed no crimes, you should have nothing to fear.

    Thanks to AG Schneiderman. Fireworks to follow. Trump can’t shut him down.

    Me to Trump.

  199. 199
    dm says:

    @lamh36: Kevin Drum had a post up today about how Trump remains as popular with Republicans as any Republican president (~80% approval).

    Couple that with the recent Gallup report of plunging Trump support (~37% approve, ~56% disapprove). Assuming both polls are reasonable reflections of reality, the implication is that there are fewer and fewer Republicans (but I haven’t found polling that explicitly supports that, at least not as of about a week ago).

    It occurs to me that Gallup poll is basically a mirror image of Obama’s final numbers (~37% disapprove, ~56% approve). Maybe it’s time to put up “Miss me, yet?” billboards.

  200. 200
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…: It’s a quote from the novel Goldfinger:
    “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”

    As for the platform change. Many of us noticed and remarked on it. Many others tried to downplay and ignore it. But as soon as Manafort popped up as campaign manager I began writing here that there would be problems.

  201. 201

    @Ksmiami: Yeah, they voted for Trump and now they want me to feel sorry for them? Are you kidding? Too much like the guy who killed his parents and pled for mercy because he was an orphan.

  202. 202
  203. 203
    Chris says:

    @LAO:
    @Adam L Silverman:

    I knew that the Mafia was just a shell of its former self, but I thought it was still dominant in places like New York City, Chicago, Detroit – the urban Northeast and Midwest where it grew up, basically. I also knew the East European syndicates were known for being much more crazy and dangerous – I just didn’t know they’d caught up to them (surpassed them?) in terms of power as well.

  204. 204
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: Yep. A lot of former Soviet Special Forces and Intel bubbas are now running these organizations. They don’t play games. They don’t mess around. They have no interest in being upwardly mobile like the Italian-American and Irish-American crime families did. The only groups that come anywhere close in brutality is MS 13.

  205. 205
    VOR says:

    @tobie: IANAL, but to me that says it was either nothing or something huge. Either they didn’t want to bother him or information was tightly, tightly controlled.

  206. 206
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Adam L Silverman: So the number sequence isn’t three, two, one… it’s one, two, three…

    Yes, I’ve seen the details on just how many Trump associates and members of his admin are way too close to the Russians, for my taste… first there was that mansion in Florida the Ukrainian bought for close to $100MM… now we find out other Russians/FSU players have bought an additional $100MM worth of real estate in various Trump towers around the country… and that’s just what we know about… then there’s the loans w/ Deutsch Banke, which we don’t know much about…

    As far as tells go, the fact that he refuses to release his tax returns, no matter what, is huge…

    If he’s got nothing to hide and could humiliate his opponents so easily, he’d release the returns…

    I know the RNC platform change was discussed here… it just seems to have been overlooked/ignored in too many other places, especially since the actual news seems to corroborate yet another detail in the now infamous dossier…

  207. 207
    debbie says:

    I only heard the morning portion of the hearing (NPR cut away at noon), but Trey Gowdy, even with a mouthful of marbles, was focused like a laser on the leaks. It sounded to me like he wanted to hold the Post and NYT liable for receiving the information. I didn’t hear any concern from him about Russian meddling.

  208. 208
    trollhattan says:

    @J R in WV:
    Domestic scene this a.m. Me, reading paper bam! something hits paper. Puppy stands, staring me and spouse’s slipper sits on the floor at my feet. He stole her slipper, walked over and threw it at me. “Play, PLAY!”

    Critters.

  209. 209
    Chet Murthy says:

    @LAO: I figger Page buys the farm, and Stone turns state’s evidence to save his ass.

  210. 210
    Another Scott says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Reuters is saying it will be about a dozen countries – no details yet.

    :-/

    ETA: http://www.reuters.com/article.....SKBN16R2JN

    Cheers,
    Scott.
    (“Reciprocity – how does it work?”)

  211. 211
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @LAO: No, it means the CI investigation is compartmented from the White House. That’s a huge piece of information. If this indeed happened, it means the CI investigation is compartmented in a way to preclude the President and the White House from knowing what is going on. That the professional CI folks have determined that they do not need to know.

  212. 212
    Taylor says:

    @debit:

    Brian Blessed was yelling?

    DDDDIIIIIIIIVVVVVVEEEEEE!!!!!!

  213. 213
    geg6 says:

    @debit:

    Looks adorable!

  214. 214
    JPL says:

    @Chet Murthy: Does it matter though, since they can’t put a sitting president on trial. The repubs questions today indicated that impeachment is off the table. Tax cuts and gutting the safety net, are far more important.

  215. 215
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Getting back to the OP: My take from what I’m reading about Comey’s testimony is that he didn’t say much, said he couldn’t comment on a lot of stuff, so he said a lot, and there’s a ways to go?

  216. 216
    trollhattan says:

    @debbie:
    That’s bad even for Gowdy of the regrettable hair. It’s like a D.A. investigating a hit-and-run and instead of going after the driver, notices the car’s clear coat is peeling and pursues a class action suit against the car company for faulty paint.

  217. 217
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @J R in WVread their:

    i is bein’ moderated??? Whaaaaay??

    Something weird happened to your nym. That would have thrown you into moderation.

    Edit: Never mind. If I had scrolled down another two comments, I would have seen that you figured that out :-/

  218. 218
    LAO says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I was super pleased when I read the tweet.

    ETA: I still found it surprising.

  219. 219
    different-church-lady says:

    Wanna stay sane? Stop trying to read tea leaves.

  220. 220
    A Ghost to Most says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    So the systems are still working; that is encouraging. I took the admin message as being directed at the deputy AG.

  221. 221
    Ksmiami says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: it’s just a bridge to fuckin far- sorry.

  222. 222
    dm says:

    @LAO:

    So true! During a trial, 15 years or so ago, a Gambino cooperator testified against a Ukrainian gang. He described an incident at a gas station where the Ukrainians sprayed everyone (themselves and the Gambinos) with gasoline and threatened to set them all on fire unless the Gambinos willing turned over territory to them. It was crazy. They don’t give a f*ck about anything, including themselves.

    Reminds me of this Darwin Award winner

  223. 223
    debbie says:

    @trollhattan:

    My guess is he’s competing for the position of Trump’s First Lap Dog.

  224. 224
    Mnemosyne says:

    @different-church-lady:

    I’m just assuming the Republicans will skate. Again. It keeps me from being disappointed when the inevitable happens.

  225. 225
    TenguPhule says:

    @Jeffro:

    (just kidding on that last one; nobody powerful does jail time any more)

    \

    But they will have tea time. Too many loose ends need to be snipped.

  226. 226
    J R in WV says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    These things happen when you try to comment with a kitty in your arms. A wonder I didn’t post gibberish!!!

    ETA: More gibberishy than usual, anyways…

  227. 227
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @debbie:

    I didn’t hear any concern from him about Russian meddling.

    A tell… ‘Pay no attention to that steaming pile behind curtain #1… quick… look over HERE!

  228. 228
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    I have to say…

    Watching Adam Schiff being interviewed in PBS, post-hearing… and Adam seems quite pleased… eyes lit up… smiling the whole way thru the interview…

    Looking forward to seeing a Repub interviewed on same topic…

    Grassley coming up next…

    Time to get some popcorn…

  229. 229
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, too, I admit that I don’t read the Lawfare blog, but I was a little irritated by the blogger’s insistence that the leak about Flynn calling the Russian ambassador IS TOO a big deal and the leaker should be found and punished. I do not share that blogger’s confidence that Flynn is totally innocent and just happened to be caught in a moment of bad judgment on that call.

    ETA: At least, that’s how I was interpreting his stance towards the leaker.

  230. 230
    debbie says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    New Yorker published a profile of Flynn a couple weeks ago. It was a very effective argument for keeping the military out of government.

  231. 231
    Jilli Brown says:

    @Capri: We’ll, consider it a test of their American patriotism. We’ll see who passes and who fails. There has to be a line that even power hungry republicans can’t cross, right? Right?

Comments are closed.