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James Comey’s Coup D’Etat

[ 148 ] January 20, 2017 |

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Some desperate leaks before Trump shuts the investigation down:

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.

The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him. As president, Mr. Trump will oversee those agencies and have the authority to redirect or stop at least some of these efforts.

[…]

The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.

[…]

Representatives of the agencies involved declined to comment. Of the half-dozen current and former officials who confirmed the existence of the investigations, some said they were providing information because they feared the new administration would obstruct their efforts. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the cases.

Serwer:

And it’s not just that the FBI chose to inform the public about one, and only one, ongoing investigation. The investigation that the FBI did the inform the public about 1)served the longstanding partisan interests of the director and 2)was utterly trivial, and in the most decisive intervention there was absolutely no relevant new information about it. There is no possible justification for violating norms and rules to inform the public about one and not the other except to put a thumb on the scale for Trump.

Let’s put this simply and clearly: the FBI stole the election, on behalf of the minority candidate. Trump is not a legitimate president and should not be treated as such. And let us note as well that the media outlets who chose to give Comey’s letter saturation coverage are accessories after the fact.

…rewenzo in comments:

1) Our domestic security forces were investigating both Clinton and Trump

2) Clinton was being investigated for maybe improperly storing work emails on a private server, which is a trivial offense. Not only was it trivial, but by the summer the FBI and DOJ had publicly concluded that charges could not be brought, meaning the investigation was for all intents and purposes closed.

3) Trump was being investigated for being in cahoots with a foreign dictatorship which was hacking Clinton’s campaign, and this investigation is still ongoing even as he is sworn in to office.

4) The FBI at no point mentioned to anyone they were investigating Trump, and even went out of their way to leak to the media that Trump was not being investigated.

5) The Director of the FBI chose to inform the American people by letter to Congress (i.e. the opposite of a leak), in late October (the platonic ideal of an October surprise, so you know it was intentional) that they had found troubling new evidence in the investigation of Clinton which required the investigation to resume.

6) This letter was a violation of (a) longstanding FBI policy; (b) longstanding DOJ rules designed specifically for the purpose of preventing the FBI from interfering in elections and (c) the Hatch Act.

7) The FBI at the time had no way of knowing that the emails were relevant, and indeed, from all indications, must have known they were probably irrelevant.

8) The emails were quickly and easily determined to be irrelevant.

9) The FBI was in communication with members of the Trump campaign about the Clinton emails and had given Giuliani a heads up that they were going to leak the story

10) The FBI knew Clinton was being hacked by Russia, and were also investigating Trump on suspicion of being involved but did virtually nothing to warn Clinton – essentially left a voicemail.

Conservatives were making fun of John Lewis because it turned out he boycotted Bush’s first inaugural too. But the joke is on Republicans, who literally cannot win presidential elections in a legitimate fashion. This is the second straight Republican president who was awarded the presidency by an organ of the state, and not by voters.

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  • humanoid.panda

    Let’s not forget the Times role in this. There is a reason that the “nothing to look at folks” story was published there and not at the Wapo.

    And this drives me nuts: I am sure that that literally no one at the Times’ editorial team, voted for Trump. So what drove this? Did they think HRC is going to be president anyway? Was this some sort of primordial instinct?

    • rewenzo

      1) Everybody thought Clinton would win. This impacted coverage, and also let a lot of people stay home, because voting can be a long, annoying process, and if your vote isn’t necessary, why would you vote?

      2) I don’t blame the Times for treating it as a story. The Director of the FBI writes a letter to Congress saying he needs to re-open the investigation into a presidential candidate two weeks before the election is a big story.

      • humanoid.panda

        As for your 2), my beef is less with the emails coverage, but with running with the “FBI clears Trump” story. There was enough information in the public record even then to treat that with a lot of caution.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Story? Yes. “Multiple above-the-fold A1 stories day after day”? Nah.

        • DAS

          Alas, I don’t think all those people, who didn’t vote for Romney in 2012 but who came out to vote for Trump and hence put him over the top, would have cared if Trump was being investigated by the FBI or not. Unlike Stillson, Trump could have used a baby as a human shield and still won the election.

          To quote Pogo: we have met the enemy and he is us.

          • humanoid.panda

            Yeah, people who didn’t vote for Romney but voted for Trump were a not-so-very-large part of the electorate. There was a small segment of republicans that was on the fence between not voting, voting HRC or holding their nose and voting Trump. Comey pushed enough of them to either not vote or vote Trump. The end.

      • Stag Party Palin

        I don’t blame the Times for treating it as a story.

        Shirley you must be joking. It was transparently obviously a non-issue. The FBI admitted they had not even seen the emails. There is no reason to release that kind of ‘information’ ever, let alone during the last weeks of an election, unless that reason was ratfuckery. No reason. None. Any person who did not disbelieve it at first sight just wasn’t paying attention. And any newspaper that treated it as a story is beneath contempt.

        • Breadbaker

          There were three levels of journalistic malpractice:

          First, the Second Coming treatment of the initial letter, “This changes everything!” and coverage not just above the fold but below the fold without there being anything actually to report on. Accompanied, of course, with the “teehee, Anthony Weiner” reasons why the computer was in FBI hands in the first place.

          Second, when the Democrats rights pointed out that Comey was in violation of clear Justice Department guidelines that applied equally to both sides, and that he hadn’t so much as issued a subpoena before writing his letter (as well as the unlikelihood that anything would be found on the laptop that hadn’t been seen before), it was treated as another “Democrats charge” story, which of course is code for “don’t read this if you’re not already in the tank for Hillary.”

          And third, the exoneration was treated much like a correction in the Book section where the Times apologizing that it referred to a centuries dead viscount as a marquis. The proper headline should have been “REPUBLICAN COMEY ONCE AGAIN ADMITS HILLARY HANDLED HER EMAILS COMPLETELY LEGALLY”.

          • rea

            And fourth, or perhaps first, the Times had published false stories (back during the primaries) indicting that Clinton was going to be charged.

      • JdLaverty

        The problem isn’t that they reported it. It’s that they sensationalized the hell out of it and stuck it on the front page and essentially volunteered to be tools for another republican who felt like abusing his power to hurt the Clinton campaign, and they did this repeatedly going back to the Benghazi committee. That was the same deal: republicans using taxpayer money to conduct what every reporter and every politician in the country knew was a hit job based on a non story And they refused to say what we all knew until kevin McCarthy fucked up and let slip the beans.

        • Breadbaker

          See my second point above. Essentially, the response made to the stories from the left filled in the reporting the Times had failed to do before it published. “Was Comey’s letter in accordance with Justice Department policy?” isn’t some tertiary issue. “Have you actually subpoenaed this stuff? Well, why haven’t you?” isn’t an out of bounds series of questions to ask. And “How likely is it that some random email not previously disclosed would show up on this computer?” is the kind of analysis a high school junior who understands email would come up with, and it’s rather odd that reporters and editors at the Times don’t hold themselves to that standard at the least.

      • Chetsky

        Bullshit. They slow-walked what ought to have been an entire -section- of stories on Trump’s rape, grifting, incompetence, fraud, etc, etc, etc, every f**kin day. And sure, if they’d instead done their duty and published the -news-, it would have been OK to publish a story about Comey reopening the investigation, BUT with clear reporting on the chances that it was real.

        You know, something like, again in large print “The Most-Investigated Politicians in America — Are they also the Clenaest?” And “Witch-hunts in Modern America”. Hell, there’s a ton of ways they could have done their -jobs-.

        But they figured, hey, somebody else will do the job of informing the public about the FACTS, so no need for us to do that.

        I’d love it if they all got stuck in some timeline where Trump rules for eight long years, and sends ’em all to camps.

        But then too many inoocents would get sent, too.

        • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

          I’d love it if they all got stuck in some timeline where Trump rules for eight long years, and sends ’em all to camps.

          That actually sounds a lot like this timeline, no?

      • UnderTheSun

        Everybody thought Clinton would win. This impacted coverage, and also let a lot of people stay home, because voting can be a long, annoying process, and if your vote isn’t necessary, why would you vote?

        Then it works both ways, Democratic and Republican both stayed home, but in reality it was Obama and Clinton’s failures that allowed Trump to win.
        This Cmey/Russia derangement is ending up like the birther derangement that afflicted some of the Republicans after Obama was elected. However, I will say it is slightly less stupid but not by much.

        • libraryguy

          Comparing what Comey actually did to the “birther derangement” is ridiculous. Comey, violating norms and laws, put a dangerous insinuation out there knowing it would hurt Clinton and help Trump. And he refused to put out information about Trump that was much better sourced. Birthers just lied constantly to denigrate and diminish Obama’s right to be President.

          • UnderTheSun

            And he refused to put out information about Trump that was much better sourced.

            What information? The fake news that Putin put Trump in the White House?
            The Comey derangement is that Comey’s announcement had any real effect on the election.

        • Rob in CT

          Wherein you accept the basic framework of the centrist media, in which Democrats are held to a significantly higher standard than Republicans. Such that if/when a Democrat makes an error whilst Republicans are lying their asses off, the result is all the Democrats’ fault.

          Put another way: only the Democrats have agency. The Republicans (including, say, Comey) are like a force of nature, like a storm or a wild animal.

          • UnderTheSun

            I have a low opinion of all politicians, Democrats and Republicans alike, so I hold them all to the same low standard.
            Hillary Clinton has a history of deceit but the Republicans have camouflaged it because of their stupidity. For example, Benghazi.

    • sigaba

      Did they think HRC is going to be president anyway? Was this some sort of primordial instinct?

      The NYT holds Democrats to the standard Democrats set out for themselves, and they do it utterly punctiliously: transparency, ethics and good government in the public interest. The NYT is a little less severe with Republicans but it holds Republicans to about the standards Republicans set out for themselves: utterly bent on destroying the government, converting the state to a kleptocracy, and openly using state power to play petty games with their enemies.

      As long as a politician exhibits no shame, and makes no attempt to cover up what he’s doing, the press will never identify it as a problem. The press uses shame, embarrassment and cover-ups to validate their attacks. They would never decide action X is unethical or unacceptable itself, some of them would say that would be “imposing their own value judgements on the facts.”

      If Trump takes money from the Russian government and tells you all how happy he is to do it, Democrats will attack him and the press will report it as “opinions differ,” because they do! It’s only reported as a scandal when someone tries to hide it, because the act of trying to hide it shows that the malefactor knows what they did was wrong. Thus, the press can report it without making a value judgement on the act itself.

      As long as Trump is proud and acts like he meant to do something, the press will never focus on anything and every story will die in one cycle.

      • Donna Gratehouse

        As long as a politician exhibits no shame, and makes no attempt to cover up what he’s doing, the press will never identify it as a problem.

        I mostly agree with you but I’m pretty sure that if any Democrat brazenly flouted ethics 1/10th as much as the average Republican does the press would not act so nonchalant about it. Democrats represent the “wrong” kind of people, don’t forget.

        • sigaba

          Maybe. Did Anthony Weiner come to ruin because he tweeted dick picks? Or because he resigned, thus validating the press narrative?

          Mark Sanford’s case is instructive– weepily confesses, admits to being a weak man, but doesn’t resign and immediately runs for the House, and wins. Ditto Diaper Boy.

          (Put me down as one of the people who really doesn’t have too much of an issue with the press, but expects that if Trump is found to be in Russian pay, the entire Democratic Party had better go on Fucking General Strike. Stop waiting for the press to adjudicate, or expecting that One Big Story will make Trump fall.)

      • Rob in CT

        This seems spot on.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      There is a reason that the “nothing to look at folks” story was published there and not at the Wapo.

      Only one of the two is still bitter about Watergate?

    • MDrew

      What indeed?

    • jamesepowell

      The NYT’s biggest role in all of this was its 20 year witch hunt against the Clintons and, more recently, Hillary specifically. The constant “investigations” that were nothing more than publishing leaks from Republican congressional committees.

      Without that as the background, the stuff done in 2016 wouldn’t have had the same impact.

      • so-in-so

        Add in their fluffing of the Bush the Lesser’s march toward war in Iraq… why does anyone want to support the Times?

  • howard

    not one single head has rolled at the times (despite my many fervent emails to [email protected]), not that i ever expected them to.

    one of the things i have noted to [email protected] was that if you only read the news coverage, you wouldn’t understand why the editorial page thinks the way it does about trump.

    as for the future of these investigations? well, we are right here at nixon territory already, the prospect of shutting down criminal investigations to protect the president, and the man isn’t even inaugurated. every time i think i have grasped how bad it will be, i learn again that i’m naive.

  • Donna Gratehouse

    I believe Russia, Wikileaks, and he-man woman-hater crewcuts at the FBI took herculean measures to intervene because Hillary was running a good campaign and was on track to win big.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      She was not on track to win big. But she was on track to win.

      • Donna Gratehouse

        Well, at least as big as Obama’s reelection.

        • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

          Obama got 100 more electoral votes in 2012 than Clinton got this time. Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania are only 46 votes. She would have also had to pick up Ohio and Pennsylvania to get close to Obama’s margin.

          • Clinton lost Florida, and that’s likely because Obama signed a decree to allow American tourists to bring lots of cigars and rum from Cuba. This point seems to be ignored by most newspapers, only the Miami Herald discussed it.

            • humanoid.panda

              According to Steve Schale, Obama’s campaign manager in Florida, that’st not really accurate. Hillary hit her numbers in southern Florida, but what gave Florida to Trump was an election-day surge of republican voters in central Florida exurbs.

              • ΧΤΠΔ

                And according to Kevin Hayes Wilson, without its three westernmost counties Florida stays blue.

                • humanoid.panda

                  Those would be in the far north right? Very far from where the Cubanos live.

                • mds

                  Of course, this shows that Florida was lost regardless, right? A lot of the inhabitants of the three westernmost counties weren’t on the fence about the election until the Comey letter. Their particpation was going to surge no matter what because of some combination of voting against the Shebeast from Hell and voting for the guy who’s finally saying the quiet parts loudly.

      • Gizmo

        In the weeks prior to the Comey revelations, it sure looked like she could run the table.

  • rewenzo

    So to recap:

    1) Our domestic security forces were investigating both Clinton and Trump

    2) Clinton was being investigated for maybe improperly storing work emails on a private server, which is a trivial offense. Not only was it trivial, but by the summer the FBI and DOJ had publicly concluded that charges could not be brought, meaning the investigation was for all intents and purposes closed.

    3) Trump was being investigated for being in cahoots with a foreign dictatorship which was hacking Clinton’s campaign, and this investigation is still ongoing even as he is sworn in to office.

    4) The FBI at no point mentioned to anyone they were investigating Trump, and even went out of their way to leak to the media that Trump was not being investigated.

    5) The Director of the FBI chose to inform the American people by letter to Congress (i.e. the opposite of a leak), in late October (the platonic ideal of an October surprise, so you know it was intentional) that they had found troubling new evidence in the investigation of Clinton which required the investigation to resume.

    6) This letter was a violation of (a) longstanding FBI policy; (b) longstanding DOJ rules designed specifically for the purpose of preventing the FBI from interfering in elections and (c) the Hatch Act.

    7) The FBI at the time had no way of knowing that the emails were relevant, and indeed, from all indications, must have known they were probably irrelevant.

    8) The emails were quickly and easily determined to be irrelevant.

    9) The FBI was in communication with members of the Trump campaign about the Clinton emails and had given Giuliani a heads up that they were going to leak the story

    10) The FBI knew Clinton was being hacked by Russia, and were also investigating Trump on suspicion of being involved but did virtually nothing to warn Clinton – essentially left a voicemail.

    Conservatives were making fun of John Lewis because it turned out he boycotted Bush’s first inaugural too. But the joke is on Republicans, who literally cannot win presidential elections in a legitimate fashion. This is the second straight Republican president who was awarded the presidency by an organ of the state, and not by voters.

    • jim, some guy in iowa

      it took 5 votes to elect Bush and only one for Trump

    • Mike G

      This is how countries die.
      When corruption by the powerful becomes so prevalent and unpunished that ordinary people feel like fools for not joining in.

      • Amadan

        Forgive me repeating a comment I posted in the ‘Second Time as Farce’ thread below, but it still seems pertinent:

        Let us recall how offensive actions by The Others endow Republican presidents with a massive patriotic boost and a Divine Right to Kick Some Ass.

        Let us also recall that the election was helped along its way by a Federal law enforcement agency that has come to specialise in inventing terroristic plots and then inviting disaffected young American Muslims to play a starring role in them.

        Now repeat after me: Ermächtigungsgesetz!

    • Troll comment deleted

      • Crusty

        I try not to feed the trolls, but you are a moron. Go away.

    • Alex.S

      11) Because of how sensitive the Trump investigation was to appearing partisan, every group involved must have received updates and notifications on how important it is to not appear to be influencing the election. Comey saw those reminders and still decided to influence the election in a partisan way.

  • Murc

    I would support every single blog post for the next four years ending with “Trump is not a legitimate President because the FBI stole the election for him.”

    • econoclast

      We need something snappier along the lines of “Carthago delenda est”.

      • so-in-so

        Trump delenda est, or more pertinently, “GOP delenda est”.

        • ΧΤΠΔ

          “Villago delenda est,” to steal the nym of a Balloon-Juice commenter.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      Perhaps HuffPo could append it to the bottom of their articles.

  • jim, some guy in iowa

    so apparently a triumph of mobilization is this horde of teachers who voted for Trump flooding his twitter replies with complaints about DeVos

    https://twitter.com/mattmfm/status/822266135903109121

    it’s still okay to be thoroughly disgusted with those people, right?

    • keta

      Go easy on them, Jim. They’re just tired of winning.

    • Chetsky

      You mean, like, hoping they die in a fire? Yeah, I”m there.

      Only honorable thing they could -possibly- do is move to Russia. Traitors.

    • Halloween Jack

      “What did you expect?”, said the scorpion to the frog. “It’s in my nature.”

  • rewenzo

    According the TImes, the FBI is leaking this now because they’re afraid of the investigation being quashed. If these guys foolishly think that Trump will allow the investigation to continue because they leaked the existence of it to the Times, they do not know Trump.

    • sigaba

      …Praetorian guard desperately tries to un-kill Pertinax…

      • YRUasking

        +1 severly devalued denarius.

        • sigaba

          When accepting donatives from a prospective Augustus, silver talents are preferred for just this reason.

    • Gizmo

      He’ll kill it, the FBI will leak that, and his supporters won’t care a bit.

      • so-in-so

        His supporters won’t care about anything. They aren’t important.

        Will the people who didn’t bother to vote for either side care.

    • Donna Gratehouse

      If these guys foolishly think that Trump will allow the investigation to continue because they leaked the existence of it to the Times, they do not know Trump.

      Or the Times.

    • Marlowe

      A few days ago, there was speculation on Kevin Drum’s blog as to whether these investigations, and the one concerning Comey’s letter, would be shut down by the Drumpfenfuhrer. One poster stated that this was ridiculous since neither Congress nor the president could legally stop them. I replied that whether or not this was true (and TBH even as a retired lawyer I am not sure that is completely accurate), it was totally meaningless: The Drumpfenfuhrer has no problem flouting the law, these investigations would be toast by Monday, and there is no entity with sufficient authority willing to stop him. Not the compliant Rethuglican Congress, not the Drumpf-infested law enforcement community and not the judiciary (especially after it is shortly packed with partisan right wing hacks). My posts were dismissed as ridiculous, with one poster noting “why, this would mean that we are heading into a dictatorship!” (I replied, “Duh.”) Apparently the leakers at the FBI are not quite so sanguine.

    • Steve LaBonne

      What he can’t shut down is investigations by the intelligence services of any number of our European allies, who in many cases probably have better intelligence assets in Russia than we do.

      • Morse Code for J

        And who hopefully are keeping the existence of those assets or their intelligence firewalled from American intelligence services for as long as a Russian asset is President.

  • MDrew

    Trump is not a legitimate president and should not be treated as such.

    Very honest question. How, exactly, is this done, concretely?

    I have a rough idea with regard to Democrats in Washington, though would appreciate clarification.

    But how is this done among the rest of us, exactly?

    • gmack

      Not unexpectedly, Frances Fox Piven has some useful thoughts on this question.

  • Dr. Waffle

    But wait! I’ve been informed by the True Leftists of the world that Hillary lost because she didn’t visit Wisconsin enough.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I got a re-tweet from Michael Tracey, and hence many comments from people dumb enough to take Michael Tracey seriously. The general election was conducted fairly — indeed, the media was relentlessly pro-Hillary — but Hillary rigged the DNC, doncha know.

  • Ramon A. Clef

    From Orwell’s “Wells, Hitler and the World State”:

    “The people who say that Hitler is Antichrist, or alternatively, the Holy Ghost, are nearer an understanding of the truth than the intellectuals who for ten dread years have kept it up that he is merely a figure out of comic opera, not worth taking seriously.”

    “Only in the English-speaking countries was it fashionable to believe, right up until the outbreak of war, that Hitler was an unimportant lunatic and the German tanks made of cardboard.”

    Substitute “Media” for both “intellectuals” and “English-speaking countries” and the Hitler references for Trump.

    • econoclast

      The lesson for me is that both of these are true — Hitler was the anti-Christ, and a figure out of a comic opera. Hitler was a ridiculous figure before he killed millions, and a ridiculous figure after. We are not facing some grand dark figure like Darth Vader. People want to assign a grandeur to mass murder, and imagine that an absurd maniac can only come to power by sinister genius. No, like Germany in the 30s, we elected Krusty the Clown.

      • Jameson Quinn

        Sideshow Bob.

        • DAS

          Indeed. And doesn’t “Mayor Quimby even furloughed the notorious criminal Side Show Bob. Vote Side Show Bob for Mayor” describe just about every Republican’s campaign pitch?

      • Ramon A. Clef

        I agree, both are true. Just because Trump is a ridiculous figure doesn’t mean he isn’t dangerous. But it meant that the danger he posed was easily ignored.

      • Marlowe

        Actually, a majority of voters never voted for the Fuhrer or the Drumpfenfuhrer. So many eerie similarities. Hitler was appointed Chancellor in January 1933 in a political deal brokered by conservative elites who thought they could control the clownish Austrian. In the last free German election a couple of months later, despite early authoritarian measures already in place following the Reichstag fire, the Nazis only managed about 44% of the vote. Sound familiar? (And is anyone checking for smoke from the Capitol this afternoon?)

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  • There is no doubt that Comey and the FBI purposely interfered in the election, and no doubt that they should be investigated for violation of the Hatch Act.

    There is no doubt that the news media contributed significantly to the steaming pile of bullshit that was injected into the public consciousness every day because, after all, they had to have their fucking horse race.

    There is no doubt that Russia ran an intelligence op against the American public, specifically on the rubes out in the red states.

    There is no doubt about any of the above.

    But while we are grumbling about the supervillain of the week, let’s not forget that the Democratic establishment is itself culpable for selecting arguably the second most unpopular candidate in modern history to be its standard bearer.

    Let’s not forget that, in deliberately clearing the field prior to the primary, the Democratic leadership set the stage for the above selection.

    Let’s not forget that while, yes, she won 3 million more votes than Trump in the urban bubble, that was against the most unpopular candidate in modern history.

    Let’s not forget that there were many signs that Hillary and the concept of ‘Obama’s Third Term’ just wasn’t all that popular once you got outside of the urban bubble.

    And let’s not forget the fact that the highly paid consultants whose ONLY FUCKING JOB was to beat DONALD FUCKING TRUMP failed, and failed fucking miserably.

    So I’m all for investigating the top three items on the list and placing blame where blame is due. But unless we come to terms with the rest, then we will doomed in 2020.

    • Crusty

      In a democracy, lousy candidates are an unfortunate but acceptable fact of life. The government’s police agency interfering in the outcome of an election is not an acceptable fact of life. They are not things that belong in the same category of let’s see what went wrong.

      • Agreed. But events don’t happen in a vacuum, either. The FBI would not have been able to tip the scales if they weren’t already tipped by other events. She lost because of the culmination of a lot of things, of which illegal meddling by the FBI was one, and which needs to be thoroughly investigated.

    • pillsy

      Don’t you see, people, that, sure, corrupt, partisan law enforcement and a Presidential campaign colluding with Russian intelligence are bad, they’re not nearly as bad as Democrats daring to pick a candidate I don’t like?

      A candidate who, sure, was more popular than her opponent by every measure including the number of votes she got, but most of those votes were cast by people who live in urban bubbles that are inhabited by people of many different races, religions, and class backgrounds?

      • Predictable. See you in 2020.

        • Steve LaBonne

          When people like you, who will still have learned nothing, will bitch that the nominee doesn’t give them enough purity ponies.

          • Yes, because the FBI not only cost us the presidential election, but also the Senate, the House, most of the state legislatures, and every other evil that bedevils the Democratic Party. Supervillain!

            Perhaps you should go back and reread what I said. I stated quite clearly that the FBI needs to be investigated for illegal activity. But unless you realize that there were other contributing factors, you will be the one who has learned nothing.

            • Gregor Sansa

              It’s within the realm of possibility that the FBI actually did cost us the popular vote in the House of Representatives; the margin was 1%. And we won the popular vote in the Senate by well over 10 million.

              I understand your point but it’s important to remember that our system is systematically biased towards Republicans and that fixing that has to be on the agenda.

              • humanoid.panda

                Yeah, it is, but at some point, “popular vote margin ” just becomes a talking point. Yes, Dems won the Senate popular vote by 10 million. But in the most populous state, there was no republican candidate on the Senate ballot! So yeah, the Senate is a monstrosity, but there is no gerrymandering on that level, but Feingold losing to Johnson has nothing to do with the overall margin of popular vote in the Senate.

                I feel that a lot of commenters here are coming to a point where they believe that any Republican victory is result of fraud/shenanigans, and that’s an extremely dangerous delusion.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  I have to admit I don’t really get how Feingold is going to beat Johnson if Biden is on top of the ticket, but anyhoo.

                • imissopus

                  There was no Republican on the Senate ballot in CA because the state party there is so dead that none of its candidates earned enough votes in the open primary to make it. That seems like a problem for the Republicans, not a Democratic advantage we should hand-wave away as somewhat less than relevant.

          • brewmn

            C.V. Danes is not going to be ignored!!! Or shut up once his/her candidate is defeated in a primary either!!!

            You can go in and on about how the other candidate is worse, but C.V.Danes will never let you forget how awful the Democrat is!!!!

            • humanoid.panda

              I voted for HRC in the primary, and I also think that putting pressure on other candidates to not run was a tactical error on behalf of the Democratic establishment.

        • pillsy

          Yes, I’m sure reaching out to the bulk of the Democratic Party as the inhabitants of an “urban bubble” is great politics. So is blaming the majority of the Party, which voted for and liked Hillary Clinton.

          The Democratic Party nominated Clinton through ordinary party politics. All of the stuff that’s supposed to be so horrible–“clearing the decks” and the like–is bog-standard winnowing stuff that functional party should be able to do. If the GOP had been together enough to make it work, we wouldn’t be in this mess because Trump wouldn’t have gotten within 1000 miles of the nomination.

          So what’s your answer? You keep scolding the rest of us for being upset about some light fucking treason, but where the fuck are you reckoning with such profoundly illegitimate obstacles to getting your fucking Purity Pony nominated, like, I dunno, a popular opponent who aggressively worked to get the support of donors, elected Democrats, and key activists and communities.

          Clinton and the Democratic establishment are apparently so terrible and useless, but you couldn’t even beat them.

          • humanoid.panda

            The Democratic Party nominated Clinton through ordinary party politics. All of the stuff that’s supposed to be so horrible–“clearing the decks” and the like–is bog-standard winnowing stuff that functional party should be able to do. If the GOP had been together enough to make it work, we wouldn’t be in this mess because Trump wouldn’t have gotten within 1000 miles of the nomination.

            So, there is some kind of page limitation on the internet that stops us talking about BOTH normal party politics AND the FBI?

            • pillsy

              No, but there’s a serious inconsistency in simultaneously excoriating the Democratic Party for putting ordinary but evidently insurmountable political obstacles in the way of the Right Candidate and complaining that the Wrong Candidate they did nominate was clearly horrible because she lost exceptionally narrowly after James Comey’s lawless meddling in the election.

          • Scott Lemieux

            The Republican nomination is also an excellent illustration that the ability of party establishments to suppress competition is extremely limited.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Clinton and the Democratic establishment are apparently so terrible and useless, but you couldn’t even beat them.

            Look, once an extraordinarily powerful and competent force of nature like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz supports the opposing candidate, you might as well pack your bags an go home. Nobody could ever surmount such a formidable obstacle.

        • wjts

          See you in 2020.

          There’s certainly nothing to do until then!

        • Taters

          It’s self evident that the old, Jewish Socialist from Vermont would have won? Tedious.

    • RaisedByTigers

      FFS, what does the “urban bubble” have to do with anything? She got more votes in the places where most Americans live, including the state where 1/8 of them live.

      • Scott Lemieux

        The 66 million coddled urban elites who voted for Hillary Clinton simply have no idea how real Americans live.

        • efc

          Thank god the election is only decided by the urban voters. Is there going to be a special popular vote winner award ceremony we can all attend?

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        Danes’ “urban bubble” is code for “she got those icky BLACK votes.”

        • so-in-so

          Ding, ding, ding! “Welfare Queens” was already taken.

    • Abbey Bartlet

      the Democratic establishment is itself culpable for selecting arguably the second most unpopular candidate in modern history to be its standard bearer.

      “The Democratic establishment” didn’t cast my vote, motherfucker.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        But apparently James Comey did cast a vote on behalf of hundreds of thousands or even millions of people!

    • Little Chak

      Let’s also not forget: Hillary Clinton, prior to her presidential run, consistently polled as the most admired woman in the United States. Let’s not forget that she had a high favorability rating until the media sunk its rabid teeth into her for a year, saying over and over and over and over and over again how she had a “likeability problem” and then “asking questions” about her “favorability problem”. If you want me to jump onboard the “Hillary Clinton was a historically unlikeable candidate” train, then you’re asking me to accept that the most admired woman in the country was also historically unlikeable.

      And I won’t accept that: if I do, then the media will feel fully justified in asking endless “questions” about the “likeability” of the next progressive woman who runs for President. Those who want to throw Clinton under the bus, thinking that it will magically be different for the next woman who runs for President on a progressive platform, are ignoring the importance of holding the gatekeepers to account. If it’s not EMAILS, it will be something else.

      Let’s not forget that the media devoted next to zero coverage of the issues and Clinton’s plans, instead talking endlessly about EMAILS and scandals, until that was all voters associated Clinton with. (Voters asked to come up with the first word that came to mind regarding media coverage of Clinton in the two months surrounding the party conventions came up with “email” as a clear first, and “scandal” as second.)

      If you repeat something enough, it becomes “the truth”. That is the media’s power. There is no reason that Hillary Clinton had to be seen as unlikeable. It was not some innate quality she holds, as evidenced by her polling throughout her term as Secretary of State and through the Benghazi hearings, but a result of a deliberate decision to portray her as “unlikeable”. That so many liberals want to whip the corpse of the Clinton campaign, and act as if it took an exceptionally bad candidate to lose to Donald Trump, are being hopelessly naive about both the nature of conservative voters, and the importance of standing up and holding the media to account for the narrative they chose to create.

      • Rob in CT

        Working the refs works, and we need to do it. It takes time & persistence, though.

      • nemdam

        +2,864,974

        • Abbey Bartlet

          +2,865,075, last I heard?

      • tsam

        Um, apparently you don’t realize that hating Hillary Clinton is what REAL liberals do…

    • humanoid.panda

      I agree with what much of what you say, but the “urban bubble” bullshit is nauseating.

    • nemdam

      OK, so let’s say I accept your premise that we need to focus on how bad the Democratic Party and Hillary are instead of the illegitimacy of the election. Then what’s your plan? You are implying that a good candidate should be able to overcome foreign and domestic interference and the media. So what should a candidate do to overcome this? The logic of your argument states that we should expect these obstacles in the future but have a candidate that can overcome it. How do we do that? How did Hillary fail to do this? What kind of candidates and platform should we run in the future to overcome this? Frankly, these are the questions those who want to downplay the illegitimacy of the election and hate Hillary don’t have answers for because there are no good answers. And if we aren’t ruthless in fighting the gross misconduct of the election, it will only get worse in the future.

      Also, the idea that “Obama’s Third Term” wasn’t popular is laughable in the face of his approval ratings and the fact that most that say Hillary sucks think that Obama would’ve won.

      • humanoid.panda

        The starting point would be the difference between how HRC easily traversed the Benghazi hearings, and the difficulties she’s had getting over the email stuff. One could also add that it’s highly unlikely the next candidate would be under an FBI investigation in the first place.

        • Alex.S

          I think every future Presidential candidate will be under FBI investigation. After all, the best time for foreign governments to try to get close to the future administration will be when they are running the campaign and don’t have time to vet new hires.

        • nemdam

          If Hillary had a congressional hearing about EMAILS!, she would’ve made her Benghazi testimony look like a struggle. The questions at hearings are about facts, not optics, and the reason EMAILS! became such an anchor is because the story was about the optics of the issue, not the facts.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Why exactly was this great candidate the Democratic establishment prevented from running, had a plausible path to the nomination, and clearly would have been a better candidate? If the answer is “Biden,” please to be explaining how “Hillary Clinton, but a gaffe-prone white guy with two massively failed primary campaigns behind him and who’s even closer to the financial industry than Clinton” is a viable path to the Democratic nomination.

      • so-in-so

        “White guy”, me-thinks. Or maybe just “not Clinton”.

        Tad of truth, maybe Comey and/or the NY office of the FBI wouldn’t have been as determined.

        • Scott Lemieux

          That doesn’t answer my question. I agree there’s a plausible case that Biden would have been a better general election candidate. But what’s Biden’s path to the Democratic nomination, even if the party establishment was completely neutral?

          • tsam

            He wasn’t going to run after the death threats from the DNC anyway. This whole discussion makes no sense. Hillary was crowned by a corrupt DNC who really wanted Trump to be president. It all makes perfect sense.

          • so-in-so

            Ah, well, I suspect a sitting VP who avoids major scandals will always have SOME path to nomination. I mean, would “one term Senator from Illinois” have qualified in 2007?

            To clarify, I don’t really think he would have won either the nomination nor, necessarily, the general. He would probably have had a chance of either had he chosen to early enough to try.

      • wjts

        Something tells me the path goes through the vas deferens.

      • humanoid.panda

        Biden 2016 is not exactly Biden 2008, and him running as Obama’s wingman is an important asset. Also, and you are going to pelt me with peanuts, any candidate other than Bernie would have probably talked about the emails more.

      • humanoid.panda

        And of course, the key point is not that there was some great candidate that HRC stopped from running. It’s that the existence of an incumbent-in-all-but name and the early consolidation of the party around her stopped the Darwinian process of the primaries from taking place. And after 2008 and 2016, we can safely say that a prolonged competition is a good thing.

        • Scott Lemieux

          And after 2008 and 2016, we can safely say that a prolonged competition is a good thing.

          Can we? The GOP had a prolonged competition and produced a widely-loathed candidate who needed a remarkable last-minute coup d’etat to win despite decisively losing the popular vote. And the 2016 Democratic primaries were just as “prolonged” as the 2008 ones, plus I don’t really see how more also-rans in the race is going to turn Clinton into Obama.

          • so-in-so

            Yes, and all the sniping from the self-proclaimed left repeating RW talking points about Clinton certainly helped her in the general. So, no, prolonging the primary probably isn’t good.

        • Abbey Bartlet

          And after 2008 and 2016, we can safely say that a prolonged competition is a good thing.

          If you want the other side to win the general, yes.

        • vic rattlehead

          I don’t see how you avoid a *competitive* primary and produce good general election candidates. But *prolonged*? No I think we need candidates to be able to read the writing on the wall and bow out well ahead of the convention unless it’s 08 close.

          • Excitable Boy

            This

            After Sanders was practically eliminated, I don’t think Bernie saying Hillary is unqualified and implying he is being denied the nomination by a corrupt DNC helped build party leadership and unity. I was a Puma for a few months in “08, so maybe it was not that different, but it seemed like HRC didn’t play mind games with her supporters and got on board with the Obama train quite quickly and seemlessly. Sanders had to be wooed and didn’t have his supporters primed to accept his eventual defeat. Maybe no Comey and there is no difference in Clinton supporters in ’08 falling in line and Sanders supporters this year doing the same, but if the exit polls I have seen are accurate there was a problem.

    • tsam

      Let’s not forget that there were many signs that Hillary and the concept of ‘Obama’s Third Term’ just wasn’t all that popular once you got outside of the urban bubble.

      Gawd, where have I heard this “urban bubble” shit before…?

  • Crusty

    Off topic (a little) but if there’s some kind of rapture type event later today, its been fun passing the time with some of y’all.

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  • Snuff curry

    I’m wondering about the timeline here of first generation EMAILZ shenanigans (HRC conspiring with naughty haxx0rs to steal state secrets & deliver them into the hands of our enemies, i.e. Anthony Weiner’s laptop) followed by a second set (revealing DNC-approved risotto recipes and evidence of old people needing to Google Their E-mail) just as an on-line Russian state-sponsored ratfucking and misinformation campaign was commencing, followed by the last-minute Comey revelation, and whether it’s the result of hasty maneuvering on the ground or a fully-fledged gameplan involving the complicity of at least some GOP and Trump campaigners. The former two would, absent CDS, be non-starters (no State Dept. e-mails were intercepted and her solution of a private server was not egregious, and being the victim of a hack is not a crime nor did the actual crime, in this instance, reveal anything truly shocking, compared to the pussy-grabbing, and even the small bits of substance revealed Trump couldn’t make hay of in any debate) for anyone else. The third unprecedented in its medium, rather than its methods, and was startlingly effective in part because of Trump’s own on-line presence and that of his MSM-distrusting acolytes.

    The fourth is the kicker. What was its intent? Was he actually intending to throw an election, or just severely cripple her before taking office so that his party’s feet-dragging, sabotage, and obstruction would appear justified?

    Ugh, this election’s as-I-say-not-as-I-do motif is infuriating. “Leaks are bad and HRC can’t be trusted with classified material” swiftly metamorphosed into “leaks are a public service* and, besides, this shows how weak HRC and DNC were with security” with a generous helping of “wait, no, look, leaks are bad again except when Comey is leaking the leak because the reverse makes it good” and now we’re onto “the FBI shouldn’t be leaking this stuff about Russia and Trump because partisanship.” Head-spinning stuff. Classic misdirectioning grift.

    *where Russia and Assange are Just Doing Us A Favor, You Guys, By Showing Us the Loopholes In Our Systems, like they’re plucky, upstart teenage protagonists in a terrible 80s film

  • fleekon

    since nobody else appears to have mentioned it, there is an interesting series of stories at Huffington Post suggesting that

    Information presently public and available confirms that Erik Prince, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Trump conspired to intimidate FBI Director James Comey into interfering in, and thus directly affecting, the 2016 presidential election. This conspiracy was made possible with the assistance of officers in the New York Police Department and agents within the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-domestic-conspiracy-that-gave-trump-the-election_us_587ed24fe4b0b110fe11dbf9

    • humanoid.panda

      Seth Abramson LOLZ.

  • NoMoreAltCenter

    What exactly would “treating him like a legitimate President” look like and how does it differ from what Democrats will do?

  • My formative years having been the Reagan years, I don’t see why anyone would think treating Trump exactly the way Reagan was treated, will have any helpful impact whatsoever, anyplace but in the minds of those whose satisfaction comes from imagining the impact something will have and then imagining something else when the time comes to see what the impact really was.

    I’m sure I’m just temporarily bitter and will feel differently about it in a week or a year when we can see what resistance is really accomplishing.

    • Taters

      Act Up got some shit done, but that was pre-internet.

  • Alex.S

    New York Times issues their “Ooops” statement.

    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/01/20/public-editor/trump-russia-fbi-liz-spayd-public-editor.html

    At one point, the F.B.I. was so serious about its investigation into the server that it asked The Times to delay publication. Meanwhile, reporters had met with a former British intelligence officer who was building the dossier. While his findings were difficult to confirm, Times reporting bore out that he was respected in his craft. And of his material that was checkable, no significant red flags emerged. What’s more, said one journalist frustrated with the process, a covert link seemed like a plausible explanation for the strange bromance between Trump and Putin.

    There were disagreements about whether to hold back. There was even an actual draft of a story. But it never saw daylight. The deciding vote was Baquet’s, who was adamant, then and now, that they made the right call.

    “We heard about the back-channel communications between the Russians and Trump,” he said. “We reported it, and found no evidence that it was true. We wrote everything we knew — and we wrote a lot. Anybody that thinks we sat on stuff is outrageous. It’s just false.”

    There is an unsettling theme that runs through The Times’s publishing decisions. In each instance, it was the actions of government officials that triggered newsroom decisions — not additional reporting or insight that journalists gained. On the server, once the F.B.I. signaled it had grown wary of its importance — without giving conclusive evidence as to why — the paper backed off. Weeks later, the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, publicly admonished the F.B.I. for being secretive about its probe of Trump. That gave The Times cover to write what it knew about the bureau’s investigation into the bank server.

    TLDR: New York Times sat on stories because the FBI said to sit on them.

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