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Don’t Blame Loretta Lynch For James Comey’s Subversion of Democracy

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Sari Horowitz has a good deep dive into the crisis that James Comey’s announcement that he intended to subvert a presidential election because he wanted to send a letter based on no information about a trivial pseudo-scandal created. First, for the “let’s just move on and focus on how someone who will never be a presidential candidate again sucks” crowd:

Into that vacuum stepped Comey, an FBI director who prides himself on having a finely tuned moral compass that allows him to rise above politics. [LOLLOLLOLLOL — ed.] Weeks before the letter, Comey had advised against the Obama administration public statement admonishing Russia for the Democratic Party hacks, arguing it would make the administration appear partisan too close to the election. But to him, the Clinton email investigation was different.

Battered by Republican lawmakers during a hearing that summer, Comey feared he would come under further attack if word leaked about the Clinton case picking up again. He was surprised by the intensity of the reaction to his letter, according to people familiar with Comey’s thinking. His reputation fell further after the FBI acknowledged three days before the election that the emails amounted to nothing.

Working the refs works. The idea that we should just let Comey throwing the election go — even though outrage is eminently justified on the merits! — is insane.

Since Comey’s selective unwillingness to intervene in the election leaves absolutely no doubt about his egregious misconduct and partisan hackery, his allies have no choice but to find people to shift the blame to:

Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, said that the controversy shines a light on Lynch’s compromised position and failed leadership as attorney general.

“If she thought [the letter] violated department policy or was otherwise a bad idea, she could have ordered him not to send the letter,” said Goldsmith, who noted that soon after the letter was released, Justice officials proceeded to criticize Comey when Lynch had the power all along to stop him. “It was an astonishing failure of leadership and eschewal of responsibility, especially if Lynch really thought what Comey did was wrong.”

I trust the problem with this argument is obvious. Had Lynch ordered Comey not to send the letter to Congress, word would have nearly-instantaneously leaked out of the Federal Sieve of Investigation. Hence, the final days of the campaign still would have been dominated by coverage of Hillary Clinton’s EMAILS!, only with Lynch being cast in the John Mitchell role of trying to cover up the wrongdoing apparently uncovered by straight-shooting, nonpartisan, FIERCELY INDEPENDENT FBI director James Comey. This strikes me as as bad or worse than what did happen. Given how close Comey’s actions were to the election, he held all the cards. If he was determined to egregiously violate department rules and norms and insert baseless but highly prejudicial innuendoes about Hillary Clinton into the campaign, Lynch couldn’t stop him; she could at best affect the form in which the information came out. And, of course, “I can’t be blamed for my grossly unethical conduct because my supervisor should have stopped me!” isn’t much of a defense in the first place.

Horowitz has a second, marginally more plausible candidate to share the blame:

At first, the staffers could not tell who it was. But then, as the man got close to the airplane steps, one of the staffers said with surprise, “Is that Bill Clinton?”

It was. Clinton had just wrapped up a fundraiser for his wife and arrived at the tarmac to fly out of Phoenix. His Secret Service detail tipped him off that Lynch was there, too, and he sent word that he wanted to say hello.

Lynch felt she could not say no to the former president, who 17 years ago promoted her to U.S. attorney. Once inside the plane, Lynch said that she, Clinton and her husband discussed their travels, Clinton’s grandchildren, golfing and Brexit.

But as the visit dragged on, Lynch became anxious. The Justice Department was still conducting an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices during her tenure as secretary of state. Lynch had just wanted to say a quick hello to Bill Clinton, and now they had been talking for close to half an hour.

Clinton’s decision to meet with Lynch was a dumb, tone-deaf decision by someone who pretty clearly has lost quite a bit off his political fastball. But it didn’t materially alter the fundamental dynamic. It was a further disincentive against Lynch intervening and telling Comey to keep his yap shut, but the ability of Comey and his allies to leak his intention to inform Congress was in itself sufficient to give Comey all the leverage.

Lynch’s decision to try to persuade Comey to do the right thing was almost certainly her best option under impossible political circumstances. Comey’s decision to violate norms and rules to intervene in the election although he had no information about a gnat fart of a scandal, a decision that led to Donald Trump becoming president contrary to the will of the electorate, is his and his alone.

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  • True, professor, but you’re farting in a whirlwind. Comey got what he wanted and he will pay no penalty. Why he wanted Trump to be president, however, is a question. For one thing, it’s the job of the FBI to catch and prosecute Russian spies.

    • Barry_D

      “For one thing, it’s the job of the FBI to catch and prosecute Russian spies.”

      It’s clear that the FBI has been replaced by FBIPT (Federal Bureau of Infiltration and Putinist Treason).

      • humanoid.panda

        In some ways, I’d prefer Trump to be a Russian spy. At least then, he would be predictable. The truth is that he behaves the way he does because he thinks Putin likes him, and I dread to think what happens when he understands Putin laughs at him .(Trump’s talk this morning about beating Russia at the nuclear is a hint of that.)

    • Hogan

      Why he wanted Trump to be president, however, is a question.

      He wanted Clinton not to be president. The rest didn’t matter.

      • Jameson Quinn

        As TJ is aptly illustrating for us downthread.

    • CP

      According to J. Edgar Hoover, at least, the purpose of the FBI was to go after whoever the hell he wanted to, as a result of which, for example, he probably spent more time during World War Two fighting the OSS than he did fighting the Axis.

      This kind of thing isn’t unprecedented, in other words.

  • Danny

    I definitely agree that Comey bears 100% of the blame, when your boss is telling you not to do something the way it’s reported Lynch was sending signals to Comey you shouldn’t need an explicit order not to do that thing. That said, I’m not sure I agree that things would have been the same had she ordered him not to send the letter. I think leaks would have had a much lower weight than the letter did, but who knows. The problem this whole time was the media attention paid to the EMAILS and we might still have gotten 3 front page stories in the NYT about it.

    • ThrottleJockey

      “Sending signals”? That’s not what bosses do. Bosses boss. When you have an employee doing something you expressly disagree with then you call them up to your office and have a conversation with them. And if you still can’t come to an agreement you don’t send signals you give orders.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        you believe the government should be run like a business, eh?

        • ThrottleJockey

          I believe in accountability. It wasn’t a businessman who said the buck stops here. It was a Democrat.

          I don’t understand this notion that we’re not responsible for our actions…or inactions as the case may be. Not how I was raised.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            to a degree this goes back to the perceived need for Republican daddies because Comey isn’t really an employee who can be bossed around he has his own power base

            but say Lynch leans hard on Comey, who in turn leans on the NYC branch. Agents there say “to hell with *this*” and have their own press conference implicating Comey in a cover up in collusion with Lynch. Then what? Saturday Night Massacre pt 2 with mass firings? Right on top of the election? Yeah, *that* ends well for all involved

            • ThrottleJockey

              Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do and let the chips fall where they may.

              Comey’s excuse is just that, in fact, had he not sent the letter then his agents would’ve simply leaked that the investigation had been reopened. If that’s not an excuse for Comey then it’s not an excuse for Lynch.

              Extend that logic all the way. The head of the NY field office could say “If we don’t tell the public about the investigation then the janitor will!”

              • Hogan

                The difference is that Comey wanted the information to leak.

  • BartletForGallifrey

    Blaming a black woman for a white man’s bullshit. How original.

    • ThrottleJockey

      You said it better than I could have. Shorter Lemieux: Never blame a black woman if there’s a white man nearby.

      Like James Brown said “You gotta pay the cost of you want to be the boss.” Lynch is AG for a reason. If she strongly disagreed with what Comey was doing she had a professional– perhaps even patriotic–obligation to stop him. Full stop.

      • BartletForGallifrey

        You seem to be misreading my post.

        • ThrottleJockey

          Nope. I understand it. I was turning it on it’s head so to speak. I don’t believe in passing the buck.

          Bosses must be accountable. If you believe as strongly as Lemieux does that Comey sold out then you have to equally acknowledge that Lynch fucked up. Otherwise what you have is some kind weird fucked up affirmative action. Lynch is a big girl. She’s responsible for her decision not to stop Comey.

          • Jameson Quinn

            Well, then you didn’t understand Lemieux. He said that Lynch did not actually have the power to stop Comey hard. She had to go soft, and because she didn’t have a crystal ball, she didn’t know how hard she had to push the soft.

            • ThrottleJockey

              I perfectly well understood Lemieux. I simply disagree with him.

              (Sigh). There’s a time for gentle suasion and a time for more forceful action. Having tried persuasion from Comey’s DOJ friend she should’ve summoned him to her office to hash it out. This is the essence of executive leadership: Getting shit done. If you’re not getting shit done then you’re merely playing at being boss. Like Truman said, there’s no buck passing.

      • (Don’t) Say My Nym

        As BFG says, this is shockingly obtuse.

        But also: She took action to stop him, and could not imagine that he was so far gone that the action was insufficient. Short of the time telephone I suggest below, I don’t see how we could expect her to do otherwise.

        • ThrottleJockey

          She took weak action to persuade him…When I’ve had bosses who didn’t want me to do something they told me straight out. None of this beating around the bush. Or at minimum you call them into your office and have a face to face. You don’t rely on an intermediary when the issue is of national or perhaps historic importance.

          Imagine Obama “sending signals” that Putin should stop interfering in the election. He didn’t do that. He picked up the Red Phone and told Vlad to stop the shit.

          • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

            Your boss probably didn’t have to care as much about “optics” though. As Scott points out, Lynch calling Comey onto the carpet for this would look just as political – “martyring” the straight arrow truthteller for just. doing. his. job.

            Between this and sitting on the Russian interference intel, I get the sense the Obama administration was extremely sensitive about not making it appear that the Federal government was being used as an arm of the Clinton campaign. It’s admirable, a bit naive, and something I’m sure the Trump administration won’t emulate in the slightest.

            • ThrottleJockey

              We don’t really know how it would’ve looked because she never called him up to her office to hash it out. That’s the antithesis of, to borrow Hamilton’s phrase, a vigorous executive.

              • jim, some guy in iowa

                oh. my. god. are you serious? You would have been among the very first people to start squalling about the “ethics” of Clinton friend and AG Lynch trying to interfere in an ongoing investigation

                • lizzie

                  YES

                • ThrottleJockey

                  Nope not at all. I think the Clintons peddle influence but I have high regard for Lynch.

                  I also very strongly believe in affirmative leadership. I expect leaders to do the right thing and to ensure their organization does the right thing.

                  It might have been as simple as this: “OK, Jim, I disagree with sending the letter but I’ll let you do it if you can prove to me that there’s emails we haven’t seen here. Take 4 days and have the IT guys scan the PC. If these are new emails we’ll send the letter.” That would be a carrot and stick approach. She might have even said, “You draft a letter and then forward it to me and I’ll co-sign it.” In that way she could have influenced the wording of the letter to make it much more anodyne. Something like “We’re reviewing a PC to see if it contains evidence which is new.” Again: vigorous leadership. This article makes Lynch sound like the letter was a mere mole hill.

                  I put it like this: Do you think Hill thinks Lynch did everything she should’ve done I this situation.

        • Hogan

          Forget it. Comey brought Clinton down. TJ will defend him to the death.

          • ThrottleJockey

            This isn’t a defense of Comey it’s an attack on this weird “affirmative action” that Scott proposes whereby he holds Comey guilty while exculpating Lynch.

            • rewenzo

              Yeah, and just because Comey is the guy who actually did the evil thing and because Lynch wasn’t able to stop him. I mean, some people will do anything to shift the blame from where it truly lies.

              • ThrottleJockey

                The Captain is responsible for what happens on her ship. If the ensign fucks up it’s still the Captain’s fault. The Captain’s job on fact is to ensure the ensign doesn’t fuck up.

                • rewenzo

                  But ultimately there are limits to what the Captain can really be responsible for, unless we’re talking about responsibility in the abstract.

                  A guy in her chain of command went off reservation. She told him not to. He did anyway. We can say “hey strict liability, she’s the captain and by the law of the sea anything that happens on her ship can be ascribed to her” but as a matter of practical morality, I’m not sure where the responsibility is supposed to lie here.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  I have my philosophy of leadership other people have theirs. I believe in strict accountability (if it works for employees why not bosses?) but I understand people differ.

                  I’m a results oriented kinda guy I was raised by a particular kind of people to believe in a particular kind of leadership. But I find that I have disputes with my father even on leadership. Still IMO strict accountability is the only way to go.

                • rewenzo

                  (if it works for employees why not bosses?)

                  In what sense does it work that way for employees?

                • ThrottleJockey

                  In your experience how often is it that a boss doesn’t hold employees responsible for their performance? I’m my experience bosses always hold employees responsible for their performance.

                  So too should bosses be held accountable.

                • rewenzo

                  In your experience how often is it that a boss doesn’t hold employees responsible for their performance? I’m my experience bosses always hold employees responsible for their performance.

                  1. Holding someone accountable for their performance is not strict liability holding someone accountable for what somebody else did when they could have theoretically prevented it.

                  2. I’m sure there are employers who will punish innocent people because they were in the chain of command. This doesn’t make innocent people less innocent. It makes the bosses wrong.

                • LifeOntheFallLine

                  I’m a results oriented kinda guy

                  If that were half as true as you seem to think it is you would have no problem understanding why Lynch chose a soft approach given the history of made up conspiracy theories surrounding Hillary Clinton – now including pizza shop pedophelia! – and the *results* that likely would have arisen had even the hint of political favor that look liked a cover up in Clinton’s direction occurred.

                  Christ you’re unoriginal.

                • ThrottleJockey

                  I don’t have beef with her choosing a soft approach. I have beef because that was her only approach. Managers have to have back up plans. That’s Management 102.

      • JMP

        Someone who has repeatedly admitted to somehow believing that Hillary Clinton did something wrong with her emails and this whole bullshit fake scandal was somehow justified already has no credibility whatsoever on any comment dealing with this.

  • (Don’t) Say My Nym

    Once somebody’s done something, it’s really hard to imagine that they could easily have done something else. There’s a name for it: the fundamental attribution error, in which we believe that others act because of their character traits even when statistics show many times it’s circumstantial.

    The thing I’m thinking about right now is the Hamilton Electors. Only 2 Republicans were faithless. But lawyers credibly claimed that at least 20 were exploring the possibility. Without Stein in the race, MI would have flipped, meaning that only 21 would have been necessary.

    I know… the Hamilton elector thing was pushed largely by blindingly unrealistic people. And even if they’d gotten Trump below 270, the House would almost certainly have gone to Trump.

    But my larger point is, circumstances matter. If Loretta Lynch could call her past self on a time-telephone, I doubt that there’s nothing her past self could do to convince Comey not to do it.

    (Of course, we’d still be stuck here in this timeline. Even if you allow backwards causality, it would just start a separate timeline without Trump; and a “few” such timelines almost certainly already exist, because of quantum mechanics, so starting one more would have no meaningful impact on whether the modal 2017 included President Trump. After all, “few” and “many” in this context are more like a googol and a googolplex than they are like five and a million. So time travel narratives are almost universally wrong about all that.)

    • (Don’t) Say My Nym

      Huh? How did I get logged on with this nym? Oh well.

    • Bill Murray

      Without Stein in the race, MI would have flipped, meaning that only 21 would have been necessary.

      What evidence do you have for this? It’s true that Stein got more votes than separated Trump and Clinton, but given her campaign and idea that there’s not much difference between the parties, probably half would not have voted for Clinton or Trump and the other half seem unlikely to have gone 70-30 for Clinton, but I could not find any data on this specific to Michigan or really any 2016 election

      • One can’t simply consider Stein voters in isolation, but also the question of how many potential Clinton voters were persuaded to stay home as a direct result of Stein’s well-poisoning. The number is almost certainly significantly greater than zero.

  • Lasker

    Obama’s and Lynch’s actions/inactions follow naturally from their (entirely reasonable) belief that Clinton was sure to win and that their highest priority should be ensuring that win was viewed as untainted by executive interference.

    I’d be willing to bet that Comey shared this belief.

    It doesn’t excuse him, of course.

    The whole thing is a massive victory for republican scaremongering about legitimacy. That’s what created the threat that Lynch and Obama placed such a high priority on avoiding.

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      This election was very much Bart Simpson vs Martin Prince. So much of the debate was about “how to shape the inevitable Clinton presidency”

  • howard

    [email protected]

    I just sent a therapeutic email to the asshole. You can too!

    • Jameson Quinn

      therapeutic email to the asshole

      New age health woo has gone so corporate these days.

  • kped

    “If she thought [the letter] violated department policy or was otherwise a bad idea, she could have ordered him not to send the letter,”

    BTW, I’m seeing internet “lefties” using this or a variation of it on various blog message boards and Twitter. Shifting the blame to Lynch. They do follow their talking points…

    (big reason i put “left” in quotes, the way these guys just co-opt the BS talking points is striking to me…almost as if they are on the other side)

    It was a further disincentive against Lynch intervening and telling Comey to keep his yap shut, but the ability of Comey and his allies to leak his intention to inform Congress was in itself sufficient to give Comey all the leverage.

    Yup. That FBI leaked like sieve. Nothing Lynch could do would have stopped that, and as you say, it would make things worse, not better.

    • ThrottleJockey

      Yup. That FBI leaked like sieve. Nothing Lynch could do would have stopped that, and as you say, it would make things worse, not better.

      Isn’t that Comey’s defense as well? Had he not informed Congress the investigation would’ve leaked anyways and it would look twice as bad?

      If that excuse doesn’t fly for Comey it doesn’t fly for Lynch.

      • rewenzo

        It’s awkward for Comey but it’s a scandal for Lynch.

        Comey is a Republican, and directly in charge of the FBI. The whole reason we have him there is to inoculate the Obama administration from false appearances of scandals. When Comey clears Clinton, it has more heft than if a democrat does it. That is why you have Republican daddies. Comey in particular has a bipartisan rep of not being partisan, so he’s theoretically perfect for the job.

        It is Comey’s job to stop the FBI from doing stupid malicious shit, and there’s no reason why he could not do so in this case, except out of personal convenience. He’ll look bad if the House discovers there were new emails and they were relevant. He’ll face a couple of tough questions. He’ll look a little like he’s been corrupted by Obama. These are minor concerns and the negative fallout on them is really all on Comey personally.

        Lynch is a democrat, who was appointed to US Attorney by Bill Clinton. She also infamously had a tarmac conversation with Bill Clinton while the FBI was investigating his wife during a presidential election, which resulted in its own scandal. If she intervenes to order Comey or anyone at the FBI to keep silent, it’s Clinton Crony Crushes Investigation. In addition to it giving Republicans a stronger talking point, it actually is worse from a good government perspective for the AG to be ordering the FBI to stop their investigations during an election. Hence the long standing rule that the FBI not investigate politicians during an election – so that the decision to intervene/not intervene does not look like a political decision. This is doubly true if the AG has already been accused of intervening in a partisan way, by privately meeting her former boss and the husband of Clinton.

        • Lasker

          Good post.

          Comeys actions (and, to a much lesser degree, her own and and Bill Clinton’s) put Lynch in an nearly impossible situation, and she responded by effectively recusing herself from the case. Honorable but disastrous.

        • ThrottleJockey

          You’re assuming that Lynch meeting with Comey would be perceived by Comey as “unethical” intervention as opposed to mere collaboration. No one including Holder has made Comey out to be that partisan. (Point in fact: I hated the Comey appointment because he was an Ashcroft deputy and I know how racist Ashcroft was.)

          Lynch isn’t a stupid woman. I suspect she didn’t meet directly with Comey because she didn’t think the letter was as big a deal as a professional/policy matter as Lemieux thinks it is.

  • Alex.S

    Comey sat on the “new” emails for weeks without seeking a warrant. He informed Lynch that he’d be writing a letter with one day of notice, wrote a letter, and then pursued getting a warrant. If he truly believed he needed to inform Congress, he would have done so in early October and not one week before the election.

    He also held his press conference in July without ever telling his boss or anyone else what he was doing. He knew that he was immune from criticism or reprimand from the Obama administration because it would make them the partis an ones trying to influence the election.

  • Crusty

    I blame her a tiny, tiny bit. People like judges, prosecutors, even defense lawyers deal with situations where there may be the appearance of a conflict all the time but at the end of the day we hope they can carry on their job in good faith and exercise good professional judgment. No reason Lynch couldn’t have picked up the phone and said something like “James, I hear you’re planning to make an announcement that you may or may not soon have an announcement to make that may or may not be about something. Pull your head out of your ass, that’s not how we do things. I know I said I’d defer to your ultimate decision on this thing, because bozo had to say hi on the runway making it look like he was making me an offer I couldn’t refuse, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let you go all bush league on us. That’s not how we do things, get with the program, straighten up and fly right. If it turns out the crap on Wiener’s phone shows she was running a child sex trafficking ring out of a pizza joint, I’ll resign and you can give me the world’s biggest and most public I told you so and you’ll be a shoo in for my job. But until then, straighten up and fly right, follow our long standing protocols, I’m not asking.”

    • Scott Lemieux

      But, again, I don’t see how that ends well. Either he does it anyway, or he makes sure word immediately gets out that Lynch quAshed his letter. The latter is not obviously better than the former and might be worse.

      • Crusty

        Obviously this is just speculating, but I don’t think it would have shaken out worse. For one thing, leaks from Comey or elsewhere in the Federal Sieve Bureau would have been along the lines that Lynch quashed a letter- a letter we’d never get to see (maybe we would, yeah) so we’ve got Lynch quashing something but nobody is really sure what it is. This makes it a harder story for the media to put into a soundbyte. No letter, its just FBI people are saying Lynch did something. Something about what- and this gets to the heart of what the problem was, it was a letter about nothing. But put into letter form, it became something- a letter. On top of that, the thing that saves it all, is that the ultimate conclusion to the letter that announced that there may or may not have been something is that there was not something. So if Lynch quashes the letter, Comey has two options- expedite the e-mail review, i.e., get her cleared even faster (and that in turn clears Lynch for “interfering”) or let it drag on as rumors and scuttlebutt for as long as he likes which wouldn’t have been good but wouldn’t have been that different than what there already was. It was the reduction of it all to a singular letter, released to the press that led to a this just in, Crooked Hillary is Crooked confirmed by FBI moment.

        • ColBatGuano

          I’m pretty sure the contents of the letter would have leaked out as well. “Lynch suppresses FBI investigation of new Clinton emails”

  • LosGatosCA

    The whole situation reminds me of the Tom Hanks explanation of the Apollo 13 problem at the end of the movie, roughly:

    Turned out the problem was a wire damaged during oxygen tank installation two years before.

    The person who installed that defective ‘tank’ was Obama. The Democratic culture that required that installation is one that disdains and avoids the responsibility for continuous management of military, paramilitary, and financial governance.

    Of course, Trump surely will reappoint Yellen as Fed chair, I’m sure he considered just re-upping Ash Carter as SoD before just settling for a lunatic, and his first Supreme Court nominee will be a 63 year old, milque toast Republican equivalent of Garland.

    It’s insane that any Democratic president can see the absurdity of that last paragraph without understanding the absurdity of the converse. The party’s culture is basically self-destructive and it self-destructed. The players in the game at the time of the actual self-destruction are only minor details.

    And to say Bill C has lost something off his political fastball is understatement of the decade.

    ETA – on the issue of accountability, unless Obama fesses up that his decisions to continually appease the Republicsns – on torture, on financial irregularities, on cabinet appointments was wrong, he’s dead to me.

    • EliHawk

      And to say Bill C has lost something off his political fastball is understatement of the decade.

      Eh. He always, always, ALWAYS had those kind of discipline/optics problems, even in the 90s. And in terms of his other strengths, just four years ago he gave the best received DNC speech (a testament to being “The Secretary of Explaining Things”) and gave another good one, albeit very different, this time as well. He’s still pretty good at the things he was pretty good at, and he’s still pretty bad at the things he had trouble with. But when you aren’t the one in the arena on TV every day, the latter skill isn’t what people see day in and day out, while the press loves the ‘drip drip drip’ of a Clinton scandal.

    • LosGatosCA

      I’d like to hear Obama explain how the consequences of his Republican appointees has become a ‘teachable’ moment for himself.

    • efgoldman

      The Democratic culture that required that installation is one that disdains and avoids the responsibility for continuous management of military, paramilitary, and financial governance.

      So, Democrats are at fault for appointing skilled, qualified, ethical cabinet members that know how and want to do things the right way and insist on it.
      Next time we should try to find crazy incompetents so they’ll kick ass and take names.

      I don’t know what the DOJ org chart looks like, whether Comey reports up to some deputy AG or directly to Lynch. If the former, then Lynch could/should have sent the explicit order thru that person. If the latter, she should have designated an acting the day after the runway meeting to do the same thing.

      Apparently the Clintons (both of them) are the only famous people of accomplishment who aren’t allowed to have similarly situated close friends because of the “optics.” e.g. Hillary with a Nobel prize winner, Bill with Lynch.

      • LosGatosCA

        If your party can’t provide a qualified slate of candidates for every single appointed position in the government, never mind just the SoD, FBI, CIA, Fed chair , etc then your party is just a collection of unqualified amateurs. Full stop.

        14 of the last 16 years of Democratic administrations have had a Randite Republican and a conservative Republican be the Fed chair – over 8 years of Republican appointees running Defense, etc.

        That’s not a serious party pursuing a grass roots driven agenda, that’s a bunch of lazy elites taking the easy way out. Laziness is not a good investment and will cost you in the end.

        As I’ve said many, many, many times these type of appointments are bad in the short run, and because the leader installs his/her team and you have no experienced folks that share your values for the next team/time either

        ETA – succession planning, how does it fucking work?

    • Barry_D

      “The person who installed that defective ‘tank’ was Obama. The Democratic culture that required that installation is one that disdains and avoids the responsibility for continuous management of military, paramilitary, and financial governance.”

      Bullsh*t. We have an Establishment which considers the right better for such things, because regardless of the fact that they are incompetent and partisan.

  • Dilan Esper

    1. Working the refs may work for lawmakers on a congressional oversight committee. That doesn’t mean it works on a blog.

    2. It’s true about what would have leaked if Lynch had ordered Comey not to send the letter. But that’s also true about Comey sending the letter. He doesn’t send it and we get a ton of leaks from right wingers in the FBI. They are the real problem here. It’s October surprises all the way down thanks to them.

    • Scott Lemieux

      There are leaks and there are leaks. “Random Guilani goons found some emails” is not nearly as damaging as “AG refuses to let straight-shooting non-partisan fiercely independent FBI director from proving Hillary Clinton’s guilt.”

  • BartletForGallifrey

    I have been wondering why the Clinton campaign didn’t have one last piece of oppo to drop a day or two before the election, knowing that people have very short memories. Maybe that could have muted Comey.

  • thebewilderness

    The lie is located in the word new. That is designed to provide plausible deniability. It is bizarre to watch the media create the myth around it. There was no ‘new’. They had the header that included the who to and who from as well as the date and time. They were quite obviously copies. The letter claiming ‘new’ to the corrupt congresscritter was sent before the cya request for a warrant they quite probably didn’t even use and certainly ought not to have been granted.

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