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Op-Ed: It’s Possible to Dislike James Comey and His Nixonian Firing



No One Is Above the Law—Not Even the President of the United States

I proudly supported Hillary Clinton in both the primary and presidential elections.

Not because I believed she was the perfect candidate running the perfect campaign, because no one was or did, but because I felt that she was the most qualified person in my lifetime to seek the presidency.

So it’s probably not a surprise that I’m no fan of James Comey.

I wasn’t a fan of his when he unsurprisingly announced that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Clinton for her use of a private email server as Secretary of State, ripe with commentary beneath a supposed non-partisan FBI Director.

I wasn’t a fan of his when he released a letter to Congress less than two weeks before Election Day, which subsequently hit the press, advising that “new evidence” had been discovered about her email usage. (Obtained without probable cause and leading the FBI to “not change its conclusions.”)

And I certainly wasn’t a fan of his when her opponent praised Comey’s actions, exclaiming that the move took guts and “brought back his reputation,” nor when Donald Trump was actually elected. (Analysts agreeing that Comey’s interference impacted the election.)

I’d have absolutely supported the dismissal of James Comey following his actions last year, and given that the Department of Justice’s Inspector General had begun to investigate the matter, he may have eventually been ousted.

But that isn’t what happened.

Donald Trump fired Comey, not on January 20th but in May, and only after the former FBI Director agreed that Russia had interfered with our election. After he refused to decry claims of the Trump administration’s contacts with Russians at their behest.

And most notably, after he announced that the FBI was investigating links and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Even more troubling, he did so at the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions—who due to his own proximity to the Trump campaign and his previously-undisclosed contact with Russian officials, had recused himself from any involvement concerning investigations on the matter.

That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

James Comey said last week that his actions prior to the election had been painful; that it made him feel “mildly nauseous” to think that the FBI had impacted the election. He also said he would do it again. And yes, as a Hillary Clinton supporter, it was tempting to find joy that he’d been dismissed. (Mildly nauseous? You helped Donald Trump become President of the United States. Take a TUMS and sit down.)

But I took no joy in his firing. I took no joy in it for the same reason that I took no joy in the election of Donald Trump, a man who openly mocked a disabled reporter, who boasted that he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue without losing a vote, who equated the daily lives of African-Americans and Hispanics to living in hell, who called for Muslim bans and registrations, who praised murderous, foreign dictators, who openly degraded women as he dismissed their sexual assault, and who named arguably the most anti-LGBT politician in modern political history as his running mate.

Because I love my country.

I love its checks and balances, its Democratic process and its promise that every man and woman was created equal. That no one is above the law—not even the President of the United States.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon fired the man investigating his own conduct, Archibald Cox. The New Yorker, that very year, wrote a chilling review on the matter, one that could easily be written today:

For nearly a decade, a question has been haunting our national life. It is whether the Republic will live or die. The question has been asked in countless forms. May newspapers print whatever they wish to print, and the people read whatever they wish to read? May the people assemble without fear of injury or loss of life? Must senators and others always support the President in his difficult decisions? Are the people to be treated like children or like adults? To what extent does the government have the power to check up on what the people are doing? To what extent do the people have the right to check up on what the government is doing? How do we spend our money? When do we go to war? Who decides? 

“The President has dismissed the man charged by Congress and the Attorney General with discovering any wrongdoing in the White House,” the article continued. “The potential defendant fired the prosecutor and defied the judge. And since the President, by the same stroke that removed him from the law’s reach, took personal control of the law… every innocent person in the country is endangered.”

So yes, one can despise James Comey’s actions during the election while viewing Donald Trump’s motivations this week with a healthy skepticism, scrutiny and distaste. I would argue further that those who praised Comey’s impact on the election should view Trump’s actions this week through the lens of history. One needn’t look further back than 1973.

Richard Nixon wasn’t a crook, and Donald Trump greatly appreciated Comey “informing him, on three separate occasions, that [he is] not under investigation.”

The Donald Trump presidency, somehow only on its 110th day, is under investigation. Firing James Comey doesn’t change that. But if you weren’t one of the 65,844,610 people who foresaw this being Donald Trump’s America in 2017, give his actions this week pause and ask yourself:

Should they change you?


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Image via CNN/YouTube

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Trump Appears to Think Jeb Bush Was President: ‘He Got Us Into the Middle East’



During a rally in South Carolina on Monday, Donald Trump appeared to confuse former Florida GOP Governor Jeb Bush with his brother, former President George W. Bush, while bragging to supporters how he beat him.

Jeb Bush, who was largely considered to be the default Republican Party nominee for the 2016 presidential election when he launched his campaign, dropped out in February of 2016 after the South Carolina primary.

“When I come here, everyone thought Bush was going to win,” Trump said, before claiming he was “up by about 50 points” over Bush. “They thought Bush because Bush was supposedly a military person.”

“You know what he was…He got us into the Middle East,” Trump claimed, wrongly. “How did that work out?”

READ MORE: ‘Isn’t Glock a Good Gun?’ Trump Asks Before Saying He Is Buying One – Campaign Forced to Deny He Did

“But they also thought that Bush might win. Jeb. Remember Jeb? He used the word ‘Jeb,’ he didn’t use the word ‘Bush,’ I said, ‘You mean he’s ashamed of the last name?’ and then they immediately started using the name Bush,” Trump claimed.

The ex-president went on to continue denigrating Jeb Bush, accusing him of bringing his mother to campaign with him.

“Remember,” Trump said, “he brought his mother, his wonderful mother who’s 94 years old and it was pouring and they’re wheeling her around and it’s raining and horrible. I said, ‘Who would do that your mother, 94 years old. How desperate are you to win?”

Media Matters’ Craig Harrington, commenting on Trump’s latest gaffe, observed: “In the past two weeks, Donald Trump has:

– Warned that Joe Biden might start ‘World War 2’
– Confused his 2016 election opponent (Hillary Clinton) with former President Barack Obama
– Confused his 2016 primary opponent (Jeb Bush) with former President George W. Bush.”

Watch the video below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Careening’ Toward ‘Risk of Political Violence’: Experts Sound Alarm After Trump Floats Executing His Former General

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Fulton County Judge in Trump Case Orders Jurors’ Identities and Images Must Be Protected



The Fulton County Superior Court judge presiding over Georgia’s RICO, conspiracy, and election interference case against Donald Trump on Monday afternoon ordered the identities and images of all jurors and prospective jurors to remain secret, ordering they may only be referred to by a number.

“No person shall videotape, photograph, draw in a realistic or otherwise identifiable manner, or otherwise record images, statements, or conversations of jurors/prospective jurors in any manner” that would violate a Superior Court rule, Judge Scott McAfee ordered, “except that the jury foreperson’s announcement of the verdict or questions to the judge may be audio recorded.”

“Jurors or prospective jurors shall be identified by number only in court filings or in open court,” he added.

READ MORE: ‘Careening’ Toward ‘Risk of Political Violence’: Experts Sound Alarm After Trump Floats Executing His Former General

Judge McAfee also ordered no juror’s or prospective juror’s identity, “including names, addresses, telephone numbers, or identifying employment information” may be revealed.

MSNBC’s Katie Phang posted the order, and added: “Another important part of the Order: no responses from juror questionnaires or notes about jury selection shall be disclosed, unless permitted by the Court.”

Judge McAfee’s order comes after Donald Trump’s weekend of attacks on his former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley. Trump strongly suggested he should be executed for treason. Trump also strongly suggested he would target Comcast, NBC News, and MSNBC if he wins the 2024 presidential election.

Responding to the news, MSNBC’s Medhi Hasan observed, “We have just normalized the fact that the former president, and GOP presidential frontrunner, is basically a mob boss.”


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‘Isn’t Glock a Good Gun?’ Trump Asks Before Saying He Is Buying One – Campaign Forced to Deny He Did



During a photo shoot at a South Carolina gun shop, Donald Trump posed with and then said he wanted to buy a Glock, asking if it is “a good gun.”

Some say it might be illegal to sell a gun to anyone under criminal indictment, and if he took the gun with him that too might be illegal. It was not clear if, despite saying he would, he actually bought the firearm. The Trump campaign initially said he had, although later backtracked on its claim, and deleted the social media post saying he had.

In the photo op (video below,) Trump posed with several people, including the Republican Attorney General of South Carolina, Alan Wilson, who has held that elected position since 2011.

“Trump’s spokesman announced that Trump bought a Glock today in South Carolina. He even posted video,” wrote former Chicago Tribune editor Mark Jacob. “If Trump took the gun with him, that’s a federal crime since he’s under indictment. There’s also a law against selling a gun to someone under federal indictment like Trump.”

READ MORE: ‘Poof’: White House Mocks Stunned Fox News Host as GOP’s Impeachment Case Evaporates on Live Air

Reuters’ crime and justice reporter Brad Heath posted the federal laws that might apply, as well as Trump’s campaign spokesperson’s clip of the ex-president’s remarks, and his spokesperson saying, “President Trump purchases a @GLOCKInc in South Carolina!”

CNN analyst Stephen Gutowski, who writes about gun policy, added, “It would be a crime for him to actually buy this gun because he’s under felony indictment. Did he actually go through with this purchase?”

“People under felony indictments can’t ‘receive’ new firearms. That also means you can’t buy them,” he also wrote.

MSNBC anchor and legal contributor Katie Phang wrote, “I don’t know if he actually bought the gun. At least it didn’t happen in this video. Also, the Attorney General of South Carolina is in this video. Is he watching Trump commit a crime?”

But some pointed to a federal judge in Texas’ ruling from last year. Reuters reported, a “federal law prohibiting people under felony indictment from buying firearms is unconstitutional.”

Watch the video below or at this link.



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