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    Was Comey Blackmailed?

    The most obvious question, yet no one's asking it.

    It's not like he didn't know the rules. And it was a complete nothing-burger.

    Did Putin get to Jimmy? Enquiring minds want to know.

    Discuss.

    Comments

    If we reason backwards...otoh, he only got his chance because Lynch recused herself (where a more secure/truculent player might have said, "tarmac, shmarmack!").  

     

    Maybe SHE was blackmailed, and Comey was just playing for his team...


    Comey is a Republican, he ran or participated in 3 Clinton investigations, including Whitewater and the Marc Rich pardon. He sent left leaning Martha Stewart to prison over a phone call and absolutely no one has speculated Putin gave a crap about Comey.

    Isn't bringing wild distracting stuff like this up is Alex Jones job?

    BTW here is the UK Guardian credibility take on the guy Murdoch's WSJ outed on the Russian dossier, a retired MI6 guy named Steele who has 'gone to ground' over the possibility of Russian retaliation.


    Sorry, I posted on probability yesterday. The chance that Comey or underling was compromised is nowhere near as unlikely as the typical Alex Jones fantasy.

    If you were trying to take down Hillary and Obama, compromising Trump is useless - he was going to fight the Democrats anyway, and sucking up to the Russians in the campaign was *counterproductive* to Putin. But getting the supposed even-handed law enforcement guy to go rogue? At just the right time? That's valuable. Extremely valuable. It's super hard to arrange an effective game-changing October Surprise.

    Assign your weight to its likelihood, but it's certainly more than 0.

    No one has speculated that Putin gave a crap about Comey. Except me. You read it here first. With any luck, it won't be the last you see of it.


    Maybe the IG's investigation will prove you right ... or not.


    Yep - and maybe we find out what Rudy got out of it too.


    You are so right.  I wonder if we will ever get to the end of this.  I hope we do, but without much confidence that it will happen.  I guess it's up to YOU!  And the rest of US!  

     

    This is scary stuff.


    Until we can wrap our heads around what "this" is, we stand little chance of understanding the ramifications.  Unfortunately, we seem to be running headfirst into what Americans consider to be outlandish and incomprehensible behavior - and not just by the Russians.  Headfirst usually means eyes closed and fists pumping ... not the most adept way to fight the inconceivable.


    PRODUCE THE DOSSIER! I know one of these guys below has it his possession!

     

     

     

     


    If Comey acted as he did because of intimidation, that could come from any place. It would not have to be from a foreign power.

    But I take your point. This will end badly for him. Bad things are better than worse things. Etcetera.


    Actually I was wondering about this some time ago, long before the investigation was announced.

    I don't care what happens to Comey  - I want to know who's pulling our strings and tail. Giuliani couldn't keep his big mouth shut, but Comey *mostly* plays it close to the chest. Unless...?

    I'm also concerned our elections are "rigged" in some fashion, that we mostly don't do proper audits so there's a baseline of mischief that might happen despite all the "trust us" - I don't think widespread, as Trump's 3 million votes claim. But 3000 here, 5000 there can swing an election without triggering a recount. Paranoid? Hardly - we already know a number of attacks and unscrupulous types we're up against - we're just not observant and creative enough in our own defense.


    Good question, and as you say it's an obvious one.  Not sure about the Russian hold on Comey, and candidly more concerned about what has to be some kind of leverage that the Russians appear to have over Trump.  But Comey on the face of things seems to have breached well-settled election campaign disclosure rules because he was concerned about leaks.  If true, when does that kind of concern reflect blackmail?  And is it just about leaks or is there more? I'm hoping the inspector general is able to conduct an unfettered investigation (not confident about that really either).  

    Edited to add that other than that the play was simply fabulous.


    On the authority of Michael Horowitz, the Justice Dept's inspector general, and his prospective relationship with the next president:

    Mr. Horowitz has the authority to recommend a criminal investigation if he finds evidence of illegality, but there has been no suggestion that Mr. Comey’s actions were unlawful. Rather, the question has been whether he acted inappropriately, showed bad judgment or violated Justice Department guidelines. It is not clear what the consequences would be for Mr. Comey if he was found to have done any of those things.

    The Justice Department and the F.B.I. have a longstanding policy against discussing criminal investigations. Another Justice Department policy declares that politics should play no role in investigative decisions. Both Democratic and Republican administrations have interpreted that policy broadly to prohibit taking any steps that might even hint at an impression of partisanship.

    . . .

    Mr. Trump has not indicated whether he intends to keep Mr. Comey in his job. When he cleared Mrs. Clinton of criminal wrongdoing during the campaign, Mr. Trump accused him of being part of a rigged system.

    Although the president does not need cause to fire the F.B.I. director, a critical inspector general report could provide justification to do so if Mr. Trump is looking for some.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/us/politics/james-comey-fbi-inspector...


    If you ever call the police to your flat to report a crime, the first thing they do is give your place the once-over to see if you have any contraband, anything that might incriminate *you* in some kind of crime. That's how they work.

    They can say it's not a criminal investigation all they want, but if they're looking through records, they're also looking for anything that might escalate it to criminal. That is why you never ever ever give up your right to remain silent unless you know what you're doing or have no choice.

    And in this particular case, why would they eliminate any reasonable motive before they start investigating? Occam's Razor is sharp enough to include this as an option, even if it's subsequently eliminated. Certainly blackmail is part of Mr. Putin's toolkit, and The Donald's pretty good at carrying out threats too, what will all his lawsuits and such.


    All good points.  I'm almost at the stage where I actually mean it when I say that nothing would surprise me in this era of Trump.


    A lot of it isn't even about Trump.

    Joan Walsh declared yesterday, " When Trump Pits Journalists Against Each Other, He’s Won" - gee, Joan, whereyabeen? If you go to RealClearPolitics anytime in the last year, you see story viewed from the left followed by one viewed from the right, or vice-versa. That doesn't mean both are right, but our media landscape is a constant state of denial pitting one news corp against another.

    Journalists are up in arms about Buzzfeed, even though Trump long ago gave the head of Breitbart a major role in his campaign, and Tier 1 newspapers like WaPo and NYTimes have been botching basic news reporting and participating in the Wikileaks leaks, rumor mongering and echoing rightwing opp points like any other channel, disseminating like all the others.

    A few years too late, ladies & gents - you sold your soul for a few more clicks quite some time ago.


    The head of CBS said that Trump was bad for the country but good for CBS' bottom line. The head of CNN said essentially the same thing. Lewandowski was on the Trump payroll but still had a role as a news analyst. The WSJ said that it would not call out Trump when he lied. MSNBC is overjoyed at welcoming Megan Kelly and Greta Van Susteren as objective analysts. The news media is severely compromised.


    Just got unfriended by a good friend and a very intelligent person for reposting this brief post on FB.


    I say this out of sadness, not to suggest that "he's close minded" or a troll or any other sort of compromised or devious actor. Some people are just sick of the endless conspiracy theorizing that isn't based in fact. That is, KNOWN fact.


    Yeah, but waiting for the media to actually investigate something and anoint it as true is rather a long hard road. 1 1/2 years of Benghazi hearings, all the innuendo about emails, wondering what the FBI was dragging out so long...

    How much of our mainstream news will continue to be innuendo from Drudge and Breitbart slightly repackaged?

    But if I go back to the Bradley Manning trial, when Firedog Lake hid its heyday, the typical media couldn't be bothered to attend the trial I think McClatchey did). Marcie Wheeler did more to dissect US surveillance and FISA abuse than any mainstream rag. And on and on...

    A dossier this explosive from an investigative private eye/ex-spook with excellent credentials - may be eventually proven false, but nobody held off publishing the Panama Papers, and a lot of that was just standard records that tied in fairly normal activity with some possible illegal.

    Meanwhile, the MSM does a hit job on the Clinton Foundation, on "Clinton Cash", etc, etc...

    How much time did they spend on voter obstruction and suppression? They give air time to Hans van Spakovsky lying about voter fraud, but how much proactive time goes into seeing if the election can really be hacked? There's a journalist on the left (Greg Palast) who believes there's evidence to suspect it. I'm not sure I believe it (though I like the idea of being always skeptical about how hard and thorough defenses are) - but did the MSM investigate these and other issues, or were they in a hurry to get on with discussing the Trump presidency which is much more clickbait?

    In short, screw their outrage. You have newscasters/debate monitors who won't even fact check participants, the standard routine on Fox and elsewhere.  Real voter issues were routinely ignored and details of important issues never got reported. No one can figure out Trump's net worth'? What was the structure nd # of emplyees in Trump's company and how many toimeimes was he sued?

    Well, the ante just got upped.


    If the whole heroic Ashcroft hospital bed story has any truth to it, Comey seems principled and hard to blackmail. In order of relative conviction I go with:

    1. He wrote the letter to Congress knowing that the Weiner emails and their link to Hillary would leak, given the anti-Hillary clique at the FBI, and that any resistance from him would be perceived as a cover-up, thus worsening the media outcry. His best-case scenario was to write the letter, expedite the investigation and publish the result as fast as possible to limit the damage. 

    2. He really really hates the Clintons and that biased his perception of the importance of the Weiner emails and his duty to apprise Congress, as promised, of new developments in the investigation. 

    3. He got abducted by aliens who happen to be Trump supporters, and was induced by an anal probe to write that letter. 

    4. The Russians have something so dark and depraved on Comey that he was willing to sacrifice the future of the country for the sake of the Russians keeping it under wraps, knowing that he will be their bitch for the next four years, and that the fact of doing something so heinous through blackmail is worse than anything else imaginable they might have on him. 

    And 3 is much more plausible than 4 for me. 

    No offense intended, I do get that this Trumpian age makes the horizon of possible possibles so much broader. But still...


    If you check out EmptyWheel and other accounts, Comey wasn't nearly as principled as reputed to be - he shortly after endorsed a bunch of end-arounds on government oversight, extending the reach of the surveillance people think he prevented. Some people get to have it both ways.


    Comey reauthorized Stellar Wind a month after the Ashcroft faceoff. The only real result was Comey's ego was boosted with the overwrought hero bit.

    More on him from last September.


    So Flynn has the Russians on speed-dial - no need for the Red Phone anymore, they're all red. Of course Dønald's not president yet, so acting directly against the current one brings its own dangers.

    As for the dossier itself, there are other videos mentioned, and this stuff was the subject of Washington dinner parties last summer - just not good enough for the general public. This rumor of more tapes along with other details was corroborated by the BBC reporter thru a different channel in East Europe.

    And a FISA request to monitor Twump campaign comms with Russia was finally approved 3 weeks before election day, as rumors had swirled for months.

    So as the FBI was feeding info to Giuliani about an upcoming October surprise, it was tight-lipped about a connection between Twump and Russia that had long had more than just the whiffs of rumor to it, at least since his beauty pageant in Moscow.

    So what's the story, Mr. Comey - cat's got your tongue?

    Update to note: Steele continually miffed that Kremlin giving direct requests that Trump campaign acquiesced to in July, but none at FBI will investigate.

    Flynn, on the other hand, was too busy fretting over PizzaGate to understand the signifcance of his own dealings with Moscow.


    Kompromat on all British ministers, but not FBI head and incoming Trump team? Unfair!


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