May 10, 2017

Posted by orrinj at 7:17 PM


Sources: Comey sought to expand Trump-Russia probe to former campaign officials (TIM JOHNSON, PETER STONE AND DAVID GOLDSTEIN, 5/10/17, McClatchy)

The former official stressed that whatever differences existed within the FBI about Comey's handling of the Clinton investigation, "bureau agents are united in their contempt for how he was fired."

Comey learned of his removal, three years into a 10-year term, from a television newscast while speaking to agents on a trip to Hollywood, California.

"People at the FBI are outraged and angry" over Comey's firing, said Jeff Ringel, a 21-year FBI veteran who is now with the Soufan Group, a strategic security firm in New York City. "It was unprofessional, crass and cowardly the way that Comey was blindsided." [...]

Few professionals in the Justice Department believe that Comey's firing was tied to anything other than the displeasure of the White House at the Russia probe.

"Everybody reads this as the White House wanting to send a warning shot across the bow of the Russia investigation and to slow it down," said Schroeder, who now teaches at Duke University's law school.

Some career investigators may not take kindly to the political pressure, said Alex Whiting, a former federal prosecutor who now teaches at Harvard Law School.

"If they feel like this was designed to push them back, they will be emboldened," Whiting said, and may confront Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who has taken the reins of the Russia probe because Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew from involvement in the inquiry after it was disclosed that he met twice with Russia's ambassador last year.

Whiting said he believes Rosenstein "is very weakened" as a result of his role in Comey's "orchestrated firing," and will soon feel pressure from senior Justice Department officials to name a special counsel to take over the Russia influence investigation.

"It's very possible that in the next few days, the political pressure will be so intense that he'll have little choice," Whiting said.

He said many career Justice Department officials care deeply about its image and the perception that it remains free of political meddling.

"Any time that there's a perception that the independence of the Justice Department may have been compromised by a political decision, that's very damaging to the institution," Whiting said. "And it's a lasting damage."

Posted by orrinj at 7:04 PM


Posted by orrinj at 11:59 AM


Days Before He Was Fired, Comey Asked for Money for Russia Investigation (MATTHEW ROSENBERG and MATT APUZZO, MAY 10, 2017, NY Times)

Days before he was fired, James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in money and personnel for the bureau's investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election, according to three officials with knowledge of his request.

...that corruption is less objectionable if you conduct it in the open.

Posted by orrinj at 11:17 AM


Lavrov Makes Joke About Comey Termination  (David Rutz, May 10, 2017, Free Beacon)

After Tillerson welcomed Lavrov to Washington to continue their dialogue on the issues dividing Russia and the United States, NBC's Andrea Mitchell and other reporters yelled out questions about Comey's firing.

"Does the Comey firing cast a shadow over your talks?" Mitchell asked.

"Was he fired?" Lavrov asked in an innocent tone. "You're kidding! You're kidding!"

Posted by orrinj at 7:20 AM


WHITE MISCHIEF (Joseph Epstein,  April 25, 2017 , Claremont Review of Books)

When the final reviews--that is, the obituaries--came in, Evelyn Waugh's were mixed. His literary accomplishments were noted, so too his Catholic apologetics, but heavy emphasis was put upon his reactionary views and his snobbery. Waugh's son Auberon, responding to these notices, countered that they were wrong about his father's snobbery (he scarcely cared about pedigree) and his politics ("politics bored him"), and missed the main point about him: "[i]t is simply that he was the funniest man of his generation."

Quite so, though it needs to be added that in the case of Evelyn Waugh funny was not always the same as amusing. Amusing suggests light, whimsical, charming. P.G. Wodehouse is amusing. Waugh's humor tended to the dark, and, given his often gratuitous pugnacity, usually had a victim, or at least an edge. When the favorite of his seven children, his daughter Margaret, wished to live on her own, he told her "you are no more ready for independence than the Congo." After Randolph Churchill had what turned out to be a benign tumor removed through surgery, Waugh remarked that it was the only thing about Randolph that wasn't malignant and they removed it. When someone called his attention to a typographical error in one of his books, he replied that one cannot get any decent proofreading now "that they no longer defrock priests for sodomy." Waugh's humor was also strong in the line of mischief. While serving in the British army in Yugoslavia during World War II, he spread the rumor that Marshal Tito was a woman--and a lesbian into the bargain. Of his teaching at a boys school in Wales he claimed to take "a certain perverse pleasure in making all I teach as dreary to the boys as it is to myself." When his friend and fellow convert Ronald Knox asked him if he, Knox, seemed to nod off while giving a lecture, Waugh replied that indeed he did, but only for "twenty minutes." He described travel to Mexico as "like sitting in a cinema, seeing the travel film of a country one has no intention of visiting." Of the reception in America of his novel Brideshead Revisited (1945), he wrote: "My book has been a great success in the United States which is upsetting because I thought it in good taste before and now I know it can't be."

Posted by orrinj at 6:52 AM


Before James Comey's Dismissal, a Growing Frustration at White House -- "Comey was too eager to step in front of TV cameras." -- "He's become more famous than me." (Rebecca Ballhaus, Michael C. Bender and Del Quentin Wilber, 5/09/17, The Wall Street Journal)

The more James Comey showed up on television discussing the FBI's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, the more the White House bristled, according to aides to President Donald Trump.

Frustration was growing among top associates of the president that Mr. Comey, in a series of appearances before a Senate panel, wouldn't publicly tamp down questions about possible collusion with Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race. A person with knowledge of recent conversations said they wanted Mr. Comey to "say those three little words: 'There's no ties.'"

In the months before his decision to dismiss Mr. Comey as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Trump grew unhappy that the media spotlight kept shining on the director.