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Comey, Lynch and Clinton

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The big Times story on the Comey coup d’etat contains this striking detail:

Ms. Lynch understood Mr. Comey’s predicament, but not his hurry. In a series of phone calls, her aides told Mr. Comey’s deputies that there was no need to tell Congress anything until agents knew what the emails contained.

Either Ms. Lynch or Ms. Yates could have ordered Mr. Comey not to send the letter, but their aides argued against it. If Ms. Lynch issued the order and Mr. Comey obeyed, she risked the same fate that Mr. Comey feared: accusations of political interference and favoritism by a Democratic attorney general.

If Mr. Comey disregarded her order and sent the letter — a real possibility, her aides thought — it would be an act of insubordination that would force her to consider firing him, aggravating the situation.

This further convinces me that there was nothing Lynch could have done at the time to prevent Comey’s election-tampering. He may well have refused a direct order, and even if he nominally followed it word of the investigation definitely would have leaked out only with an additional “what is Lynch trying to hide?” angle, which would have been even worse.

Lynch did screw up earlier, however, although I primarily blame Bill Clinton:

In late June, Ms. Lynch’s plane touched down at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as part of her nationwide tour of police departments. Former President Bill Clinton was also in Phoenix that day, leaving from the same tarmac.

Ms. Lynch’s staff loaded into vans, leaving the attorney general and her husband on board. Mr. Clinton’s Secret Service agents mingled with her security team. When the former president learned who was on the plane, his aides say, he asked to say hello.

Mr. Clinton’s aides say he intended only to greet Ms. Lynch as she disembarked. But Ms. Lynch later told colleagues that the message she received — relayed from one security team to another — was that Mr. Clinton wanted to come aboard, and she agreed.

When Ms. Lynch’s staff members noticed Mr. Clinton boarding the plane, a press aide hurriedly called the Justice Department’s communications director, Melanie Newman, who said to break up the meeting immediately. A staff member rushed to stop it, but by the time the conversation ended, Mr. Clinton had been on the plane for about 20 minutes.

The meeting made the local news the next day and was soon the talk of Washington. Ms. Lynch said they had only exchanged pleasantries about golf and grandchildren, but Republicans called for her to recuse herself and appoint a special prosecutor.

Ms. Lynch said she would not step aside but would accept whatever career prosecutors and the F.B.I. recommended on the Clinton case — something she had planned to do all along.

Mr. Comey never suggested that she recuse herself. But at that moment, he knew for sure that when there was something to say about the case, he alone would say it.

It’s telling that Lynch’s staff realized immediately what a terrible idea the meeting was. Lynch should have refused, but she was in an awkward spot. What Clinton was thinking, I can’t begin to imagine, but it was an astonishingly stupid thing to do under the circumstances.

It’s very possible that this blunder was not ultimately consequential. I think Comey’s inappropriate “extremely careless” editorializing was inevitable, and it’s very possible he would have sent the letter that blew up the world no matter what. But Comey is a partisan who is strongly convinced that he is the only Nonpartisan Man of Integrity left (and is also still able to convince credulous reporters that he’s free of partisan motives even as he consistently favors one side, but we’ll leave the for another post.) And as the story makes clear, he is therefore particularly offended when he believes other people have partisan motivations. It’s possible that his insubordinate decision to send the letter was motivated in substantial measure by the Clinton/Lynch meeting. And it was certainly a foolish, no-upside risk. It’s been obvious for a while that Bill Clinton has lost his fastball, but this has to be the worst example.

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  • Denverite

    What Clinton was thinking, I can’t begin to imagine

    Clinton was thinking that he’s a rock star in Democratic political circles, he knows how to gladhandle people, he’d go on board and awe Lynch and shoot the shit with her, and she’d be reminded that she likes him so much and would then run interference with the FBI investigation and/or encourage Comey to wrap it up as quickly and quietly as possible.

    He was simultaneously overestimating his celebrity circa 2016 and Lynch’s ability to influence the FBI’s investigation and underestimating Lynch’s integrity, but that’s what he was thinking.

    • Steve LaBonne

      I believe you’re right, but it’s so fucking stupid that it barely qualifies as thinking.

      • jim, some guy in iowa

        the utter stupidity of it is why I think he hadn’t thought it through at all. I think he’s more like trump at this point: “O look, there’s my old friend Loretta”

        • cpinva

          this. he heard she was on board, and wanted to go say hi. they ended up chatting golf, weather, grandchildren. it just never crossed his mind how bad this could possibly look, and she was too polite to say “Bill, nice to see you, now get the hell off of my plane!”

    • Judas Peckerwood

      Bullseye.

    • He was simultaneously overestimating his celebrity circa 2016 and Lynch’s ability to influence the FBI’s investigation and underestimating Lynch’s integrity, but that’s what he was thinking.

      What it demonstrated is the seeming tone-deaf attitude that the Clintons have to the optics of what they do. Give speeches to Wall Street? Have a conversation with Lynch in the middle of an investigation? Give a big old hug to Henry Kissinger? Who could find fault with that?

      • I didn’t know Hillary was there too. Maybe Chelsea tagged along?

        • CP

          Yeah, this Hillary-bashing’s getting really old. Everyone knows Chelsea is the new She-Demon.

        • Q.E.Dumbass

          CV is talking about both Clintons being insensitive to optics, not just Hillary. And all of the things he listed were stupid things to do (which makes it even more infuriating that the speeches weren’t chickenfucked nearly to the extent that EMAILZ were in the general).

          • But only one Clinton was involved in this event, as far as I know. (To respond to your edit:) How does Bill Clinton’s action here reflect on Hillary Clinton’s insensitivity to optics?

            • Q.E.Dumbass

              That can be chalked up to ambiguous sentence structure that may’ve created a false implication.

            • cpinva

              ” How does Bill Clinton’s action here reflect on Hillary Clinton’s insensitivity to optics?”

              because, per almost themselves (remember the “two for one” deal in 92?), and certainly the press, they are a conjoined Siamese political pair.

              • The press believes all kinds of stupid things. Including that two people can have a mental link so perfect that each one’s political actions can be attributed to the pair, but that that same link seems to have been mysteriously inoperative when one of them was fooling around with an intern.

          • Yes. This incident as an example of the general tone-deaf attitude of ‘The Clintons’ (Bill and Hillary specifically) to the optics of what they do. I didn’t think what I wrote was that ambiguous, but maybe it is.

        • efgoldman

          Maybe Chelsea tagged along?

          Yes, she needed advice from the AG on the legality of running for office. Or maybe she was looking for campaign contribution

        • Daragh

          I heard she brought her baby Aidan too. Clearly the child is being groomed for high office. All those profiles where friendly journalists gushed about how adorable he is… classic Clinton dynasty building.

      • Hogan

        Wouldn’t you be tone-blind to optics?

        • wjts

          “Blog Comments Raise Troubling Questions About Clinton’s Undisclosed Synesthesia.”

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      This was far worse and stupider than anything Hillary Clinton did all campaign. And I do, in fact, hold Bill Clinton partly responsible for setting up the necessary preconditions for the Comey Coup.

      • jonp72

        I also wonder if Bill Clinton was engaging in unconscious sabotage of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, because he is not really at peace with his wife becoming president. He certainly didn’t help Hillary in the 2008 Democratic primaries either.

        • I don’t think he was a peace with having to demonstrate his baking skills, or whatever the press expected from him as ‘First Husband.’

        • veleda_k

          I could totally be wrong about this, but I always felt that Bill really was trying to be on his best behavior so as to not sabotage Hillary’s chances. Which doesn’t make the incident any less of a mistake.

  • Uneekness

    So does a day of Fox screaming “BOMBSHELL LEAK FROM NEW YORK FBI OFFICE: Lynch and Comey covering up new trove of never before examined Clinton emails!!!!” end up being equal to the office pronouncement that was made, worse, or better?

    Personally I think a leak would be less effective, as it would have a partisan dirty tricks taint to it, but still, just a bunch of bad optics options all around…

    • humanoid.panda

      This scenario is much, much, much worse than Comey just sending the letter. The one thing all journalists know is that “coverup is worse than crime..”

      • Alex.S

        This scenario is much, much, much worse than Comey just sending the letter. The one thing all journalists know is that “coverup is worse than crime..”

        Keep in mind that Comey sent a letter to Congress without getting a warrant.

        A cynical mind might think his goal was to create an artificial coverup.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Fox screaming

      But it wouldn’t have just been Fox.

  • Alex.S

    Comey sent a letter to Congress without even getting a warrant.

    Comey argued constantly that even discussing Russian interference publicly would be construed as being too partisan, while at the same time constantly saying publicly that he has no idea why something would be considered political and he’s just an innocent novice.

    Comey spent weeks writing a speech to trash Hillary, even though everyone up and down the line told him he shouldn’t do that.

    He knew what he was doing. The idea that Lynch’s actions influenced Comey is ridiculous.

    In addition, Comey’s actions had nothing to do with Lynch. The job of the FBI is to gather evidence and present the case to the Justice Department. At no point is there a step for “Give a speech where they attack someone”. At no point does Lynch’s actions create an opening for the FBI to give a speech.

  • Crusty

    “This further convinces me that there was nothing Lynch could have done at the time to prevent Comey’s election-tampering. He may well have refused a direct order, and even if he nominally followed it word of the investigation definitely would have leaked out only with an additional “what is Lynch trying to hide?” angle, which would have been even worse.”

    I think this is right. For a while I thought Lynch could have handled things differently- at least told him Jim, have you lost your mind, you want to send a letter that says we may or may not have found something, how’s this, do your review, and if you find something then send a letter, but he would have leaked something along the lines of being forced to do a quickie review of the phone/emails and/or urgent, frantic investigation underway which is the only way to prevent a criminal who endangered national security from beating the buzzer.

  • humanoid.panda

    We are going back and forth on whether Hillary was a bad candidate, or was she a victim of a cavalcade of slander that would have downed any candidate. To me, the answer to this question is simple: a good politician (and his political spouse), should judge every decision by the extent it hinders or aids their presidential aspirations. Sometimes, that rule leads to terrible decisions, like Hillary’s vote for the Iraq War. More often than not, that kind of decision making helps avoid totally avoidable blunders and bad looks. And it must be said that while she ran a largely spotless campaign, between 2012 and 2015, the Clintons made a lot of decisions that a politician focused on winning the big seat would not make(the speeches and the Lynch visit are prominent examples).

    Put otherwise: do you figure that Cory Booker, Kristine Gillbrand or even Cuomo are trying to earn couple of extra millions right now, or are they building their primary machines?

    • Rob in CT

      You know… given Hillary’s record I’m really not sure that her Iraq War vote was political calculation. Her judgment was still poor (you trusted Dubya?!), but I dunno, it sure seems like she’s a sincere believer in the idea that US military intervention can be used to produce good/less bad ends.

      No argument with the rest.

      • humanoid.panda

        Given that she gave a long speech making clear her support was contingent on many factors, and she viewed the authorization as leverage for diplomacy to work, I think the political calculation explanation is much more plausible.

        • catbirdman

          I certainly remember feeling exactly that way in real time, that this was NOT Hillary’s preferred course of action, but that she was convinced that a vote against the biggest military campaign of the era was going to torpedo her presidential aspirations. In fact, I remember where I was when I heard the news — standing outside the car pumping gas with NPR on inside. It certainly colored my thinking about her as a leader, solidifying my impression that she would go along with any kind of BS that promised to take Hillary where Hillary wanted to go. I did vote for her last November, and know she would have been light-years better than Trump, but I think a lot of other people share my viewpoint and that there were major long-term consequences to that one vote. When the stakes are literally war vs. no war, politicians need to honestly vote their conscience.

          • Rob in CT

            See, that’s plausible enough, but I question it based on subsequent events. She pushed for intervention in Libya. She pushed for intervention in Syria (including after the end of her political career).

            Eh, it doesn’t really matter. In the end, what matters are the results (which were bad, but would’ve happened without her vote).

    • Oh, Cuomo is certainly building his primary machine. Any resemblence to an Improvised Explosive Device is purely coincidental.

      Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York has hired a former top aide to several Republicans, including his cross-Hudson counterpart, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, as his new chief of staff.

      The aide, Maria Comella, 36, had worked as an outside consultant for Mr. Cuomo this year, helping to formulate the governor’s 2017 agenda. Still, her appointment on Tuesday was striking if only because of Ms. Comella’s prominence in national politics.

      Before joining Mr. Cuomo’s camp, Ms. Comella served a host of Republicans as part of presidential campaigns, including a winner — George W. Bush in 2004 — and two unsuccessful campaigns in 2008: those of Rudolph W. Giuliani and Senator John McCain.

      More recently, she was deeply embedded with another presidential also-ran: Mr. Christie, for whom she served as communications director and as deputy chief of staff in New Jersey and as chief messaging officer for his aborted 2016 presidential effort, according to Mr. Cuomo’s office, which announced her new job as part of recent and continuing staff changes.

      • Phil Perspective

        Who is advising Cuomo to make these decisions? For a guy who really wants to run for president in 2020, he sure is stepping on a lot of rakes. Rakes a guy like him should easily avoid.

        • humanoid.panda

          The most plausible interpretation is that he doesn’t want to run for president in 2020, but wants to become emperor of New York..

        • ASV

          I suspect Cuomo is looking at the 2020 primary as two-track race in which he will be alone in the “Props up Republican state caucus” track. Why he thinks this track is comparable in size to the other track is a different question.

        • Scott Lemieux

          I wish Phil would decide if Cuomo is the inevitable Dem nominee or has no chance. (SPOILER: it’s the latter.)

      • humanoid.panda

        I didn’t say he was doing a good job of it, just that he was doing political things, not taking a time out to earn some bucks on the side.

    • Phil Perspective

      Put otherwise: do you figure that Cory Booker, Kristine Gillbrand or even Cuomo are trying to earn couple of extra millions right now, or are they building their primary machines?

      We know that Cuomo loves stepping on every rake imaginable. I have no idea about the other two.

      • PunditusMaximus

        I think Cuomo has a realistic assessment of his chances to be President and an especially realistic assessment of his chances to ride this train as far as it takes him.

    • PunditusMaximus

      both/and

      HRC is an enormously competent person who always makes the bad call in high-pressure situations.

      • Rob in CT

        I can see the “political calculation” possibility. I can see the “sincere belief” possibility. But how you can combine the two, now that’s impressive CDS.

        • PunditusMaximus

          I’m more in the “is a Boomer and grew up with the self-destructive tendencies installed in my parents, all my aunts and uncles, and also all my friends’ parents” camp.

    • efgoldman

      do you figure that Cory Booker, Kristine Gillbrand or even Cuomo are trying to earn couple of extra millions right now, or are they building their primary machines?

      They are all active office holders. Like it or not, the rules are different. HRC didn’t give those speeches while she was a senator or a cabinet officer.

      • tsam

        Well, that’s just like, your opinion, man.

      • nemdam

        Ah, but she was a prospective office holder which is basically the same thing.

        Has Chelsea ever given a paid speech? If she has, she is ineligible for public office.

      • humanoid.panda

        They are all active office holders. Like it or not, the rules are different. HRC didn’t give those speeches while she was a senator or a cabinet officer.

        Someone who is about to run for president should think of themselves as someone in a public office, yes. I am amazed that this simple piece of pragmatic thinking is controversial here.

    • nemdam

      Wait, Clinton made spotless campaign decisions through 2015, but the Goldman Sachs speeches* were a problem? She did those in 2013 or 2014. And the Lynch thing was her husband’s fault, and it’s ridiculous to blame Hillary for Bill’s boneheaded decision. And she had an advantage on the Iraq war vote since she at least owned up to it unlike her opponent. If these are the examples of Hillary being a bad candidate, then she is not a bad candidate.

      Booker, Gillibrand, and Cuomo aren’t trying to make extra millions because they are elected officials. Now that would make you a bad candidate to try to make millions while in office when you plan to run for President.

      * Which no one in the general election cared about btw. It’s an issue only amongst the fevered imagination of the left.

      • PunditusMaximus

        It’s not that anyone in the general cared about the GS speeches. It’s that the Obama Economy sucks, and he’s widely and correctly viewed as being basically indifferent to that fact. cf: TPP

        The GS speeches closed any tiny door HRC could have opened to create space between her preferred policies and Obama’s.

        • nemdam

          This is an impressive display of shifting the goalposts to nonsense. You forgot to include neoliberal and establishment somewhere in there.

          • humanoid.panda

            It’s an issue only amongst the fevered imagination of the left.

            Here’s the thing though: given the narrow margins in which the election was decided at, the fevered imagination of the left mattered.

            • tsam

              Not if you ask them. According to them, if Hillary wasn’t LITERALLY SATAN, their choice to vote 3rd party or not at all wouldn’t have mattered. Corollary: They insist that their 3rd party votes and abstentions matter because it’s about time the Democrats who are LITERALLY SATAN get the message that Chad in Nowhere, USA DOES NOT APPROVE.

              • PunditusMaximus

                I voted HRC, because LITERALLY SATAN was trivially superior to Tr45.

                • tsam

                  By trivially you mean infinitely, right? Yes, that’s what you mean.

                • PunditusMaximus

                  I mean “required a trivial quantity of effort to differentiate.”

  • Hondo

    Now only has Bill lost his fastball, but he can’t even find the plate. I remember noticing how he was playing with the falling balloons at the end of the convention. Reminded me of the my 1 year old grandson playing with helium balloons on a string for the first time.
    As far as Hillary’s Iraq war vote that was brought up here, I always thought that it was a political calculation entirely. Are you telling me she didn’t give Zinni a call about what he thought was really going on? She didn’t have others in the Pentagon she could ask privately? Bullshit. She suspected Bush was lying, but she also believed that it would be over by September, and she didn’t want to left out of the ticker tape parade when the troops came home. She figured that if she voted against the AUMF, and the likely outcome of decisive victory came to pass, she would never be able to counter the Fox “News” attacks on her for voting against her own country.

    • PunditusMaximus

      Nah, HRC has always been super into bombing the shit out of brown people countries.

      • Hondo

        Fuck off.

        • PunditusMaximus

          You’re right. HRC has never been super into bombing the shit out of brown people countries. I’m persuaded now.

  • PunditusMaximus

    How the fuck wasn’t Comey fired?

    Seriously, I do not understand (1) Obama, (2) People who see behind the curtain and still Obama apologist

    • Rob in CT

      Firing him after the fact makes it worse. At best it’s closing the barn door behind the horse. At best. Come on, how hard is it to imagine the feeding frenzy that would’ve triggered?

      Not hiring him in the first place, now that’s a valid one.

      • Murc

        Firing him after the fact makes it worse.

        Please to be explaining how you make things “worse” than “Trump was just elected.” Sure, there might be a feeding frenzy. Which you completely ignore because what’s it to you?

        • Rob in CT

          The letter cost 2-3 points of pop vote. Worse would mean more than 3 points.

          Now, given the information available to Obama in October, explain why it would’ve been smart of him to fire Comey.

          I mean, shit, I’d love for Comey to get his comeuppance. The bastard has much to answer for. But how does firing him for the letter help prevent Trump?

          • Murc

            Oh, I didn’t mean in October. I meant on November 9th.

            • Joe_JP

              That would mean Trump picks his replacement.

              On balance, that isn’t obviously besides the point.

            • Spider-Dan

              So, too late to change the outcome, then?

              Firing Comey on 11/9 is worse than nothing. It makes Obama look petty and validates the “rigged system” nonsense.

              Fire him in July after the speech.
              Fire him in late October after the letter.
              Fire him in early November after clearing Hillary.
              But do NOT fire him the day after the election just because you didn’t like the results.

              • Murc

                To be clear: he should have been shitcanned on November 9th regardless of the results.

                And let’s be even more clear here: “didn’t like the results” makes it sound like it would have been petty and vengeful. The “results” that would not have been to our liking was “conspiring to hand the White House to a fascist.”

            • djw

              I confess I was sufficiently filled with rage that I would have cheered that at the time, but it obviously would have been a terrible idea. We should definitely prefer someone in love with their own reputation for nonpartisanship, now in need of serious repair, rather than someone selected by Donald Trump, during the Trump era. There’s more at stake here than one bad actor getting (well short of) what he deserves.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Yes, it may turn out to be the right thing, like letting Lieberman keep his seniority.

        • ASV

          “Trump was just elected and gets to make Steve Bannon director of the FBI.”

      • tsam

        I thought Obama should have fired him on the spot. I can’t say it would have changed the outcome, no idea if it was the right thing to do or not, but given that there was already an investigation into Russian interference and the Trump campaign, (which Obama presumably knew about), and the public had a right to know about that too–if we’re buying Comey’s bullshit line about the public needing to know about duplicate emails.

      • PunditusMaximus

        There’s always some reason Obama has to do what the Republicans want. I just don’t buy it.

  • Murc

    I have to be honest, the meeting thing baffles me, but for different reasons.

    Like… Clinton decided “oh hey, Loretta Lynch’s plane is here, I’ll hop on, say hello, we’ll shoot the shit.” I don’t… see that as being inappropriate under nearly any circumstances, including those that applied at the time? I mean, Bill Clinton could have arranged a private conversation with Lynch at any time he liked, right, just be calling her office or, hell, calling her directly, and getting on her schedule. But for some reason approaching her in public in full view of everyone is a big deal?

    Never understood it.

    • I mostly agree. At the time there were even people theorizing that Bill had done this to somehow intentionally take Lynch out of the investigation, no doubt for some complex, cynical, Clintonian reason.

      It’s also apparently a habit of Bill’s to do this kind of impromptu tarmac visit. It certainly seems consistent with his well-known personality traits: gregariousness, impulsiveness, and indifference to/lack of respect for boundaries.

      I do think that as a matter of formal ethics, law enforcement officials involved in an investigation should avoid socializing with relatives of the subject of that investigation, if only to avoid the appearance of impropriety. But from a practical perspective, you’re right. There’s nothing that a face-to-face meeting like this achieves that couldn’t be done completely out of the public eye.

      • Murc

        And I mean, hell, you know who Bill Clinton probably has the personal cell number of? Loretta Lynch’s boss, President Barack Obama. Who has just a wee bit more power and authority over stuff going on in the executive branch than she did.

        But if Bill Clinton had unexpectedly boarded Air Force One for a surprise pop-in with the Obamas, it’s a two-second story and some photo ops.

        • Joe_JP

          That is a reasonable comment, which might be the problem.

          The trouble here seems more an emotional reaction to the meeting. It’s on some level a simplistic, easy thing to emotionally get upset about. What is an ‘appearance’ of impropriety at times is just that.

          • Nick056

            I think the difference is ultimately that Serious People think Clinton is sleazy and unethical but Obama is not, and also that Clinton is personally more invested in his wife becoming president than Obama is. Talking with Obama is therefore safe; going directly to Lynch is not.

    • Mr. Rogers

      harping on what i harp on, this is another case of letting the opposition control the framing. The correct response to “Bill Clinton Has Public Meeting with Loretta Lynch During CIA Investigation” is an eye-rolling “Oh, grow the fuck up.” This should have come from every Democrat in every position of authority from Obama and lynch down to the baseline liberal blogger.

      WJC took a chance to share grandchild pics with an old friend. And?

      Instead we got pearl clutching and hemming and hawing from everyone to the point where Lynch recused herself from the process. Which was BS. the right wing Wurlitzer was gonna make noise about any part of this to begin with, but the Republicans have shown time and again that just telling the media to stick it WORKS. There’s only a real story if you hem and haw and worry about optics and let your person het his from right and left.

      • Boots Day

        Absolutely. It is very distressing to find Democrats signing on to the “raises troubling questions” standard to bash other Democrats.

        The idea that this meeting had any effect on anything James Comey did is risible.

      • Redwood Rhiadra

        but the Republicans have shown time and again that just telling the media to stick it WORKS.

        Except “telling the media to stick it” ONLY works for Republicans.

    • ASV

      I agree. I have never heard an explanation for what the big deal is other than “optics,”* and the reason is that coincidentally being on the same tarmac as somebody and then talking to them is a terrible way to sneakily undermine an investigation. Lynch doesn’t have a phone? She can’t receive a couriered note?

      * It’s weird how many people become very concerned about the upside of political calculation when they sense that a politician they don’t like is doing it wrong, but find it morally disgusting at all other times.

  • postpartisandepression

    Boy you guys are soooo yesterday – the president can read classified information in front of guests at his family owned resort and order bombings while having dinner in his gold encrusted palace now – what the hell does it matter that a former president said hi to a friend on the tarmac.

    Trouble is dems see everything through the lens of propriety and republicans see everything through the lens of I own the media and they will report whatever I tell them to report because other wise I will lay on the ground kicking and screaming and yelling “you guys are sooo unfair to me”.

    I’d like to see a little more fighting back.

    • Hondo

      “republicans see everything through the lens of I own the media and they will report whatever I tell them to report” – and their ignorant base will believe whatever that media tells them.

      This is why dems fighting back, even if they wanted to do more of it, would be pointless.

      • PunditusMaximus

        Yep! Time to give up and not try.

        • Hondo

          Now I see why your opinions are so highly regarded here.
          But, fuck off anyway. Fucking troll.

  • nemdam

    There’s no doubt Bill’s meeting was stupid, but the story has always been greatly over hyped. Like, if Bill wanted to give a word to Lynch to sabotage the investigation, the only way he could do it is in broad daylight? Uh, no, that makes no sense except to Chris Cillizza and Josh Barro.

    But whatever your take on the meeting, I can 100% guarantee you it had no effect on Comey’s solo press conference. He had already decided to do this, and there was nothing that was going to change his mind because he truly believes he is the Man of Unimpeachable Integrity who had already objectively determined that Loretta Lynch could not be trusted to handle the case. As opposed to himself who worked on Whitewater.

    • Scott Lemieux

      As I said, I don’t think it affected the press conference at all. But w/r to the letter it’s less clear.

  • Latverian Diplomat

    I think the most fundamental blunder was putting Comey up for FBI Director in the first place.

    • I think the most fundamental blunder was putting Comey up for FBI Director in the first place

      not strangling him at birth.

      Sometimes you just have to take the bull by the horns, and stare it down fearlessly.

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