Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Comey Commotion: Neither side’s story survived intact–and Comey didn’t do so well, either (a comment)
- Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt that he intended to fire Comey, regardless of what the DOJ report said. That completely blows up the story the White House press office has been peddling that pinned the decision on Rod Rosenstein, the new number 2 at DOJ. Rosenstein’s memo gave Trump cover and may have changed the timing, but this was Trump’s doing. He said so himself.
- And many sources are saying the ultimate cause was his frustration that the Russia investigation didn’t wrap up. That, too, is a serious blow. He should not interfere with such investigations. Ever. Period.
- The Democrats’ narrative suffered an even more serious blow, in my opinion. The entire logic of the Democrats’ position is that Trump fired Comey as part of a coverup. The No. 2 at FBI, who is now running the show, testified to Congress that the investigation is a high priority and that it had plenty of resources to do the job. He also said that there had been no pressure from the White House on the FBI’s conduct of the investigation. That makes the obstruction-of-justice claim against Trump and his aides look tenuous, at best. And it makes Comey’s claim he needed more money for the investigation (see below) look bad.
- Comey himself doesn’t look so good in the day’s news, either. He said that he asked Rosenstein for money $$ for the investigation. Rosenstein says, flatly, that such a request was never made. And McCabe (the #2 at the FBI, married to a Democratic politician) said there was already enough resources. So Comey’s statement, which supported the idea that Trump and his administration were trying to block the investigation, collapses.
- Comey also told Trump several times he was no under investigation. We might not believe Trump’s statement on this but it was confirmed by the top Democrat and Republican on a Congressional Committee, who said Comey told them the same thing about Trump. It is unclear whether the FBI Director should ever make such disclosures.
◆ The New Yorker has a brilliantly clever cover. It doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree with the political perspective, artist Barry Blitt deserves credit for a mordant pen.
◆ More biased coverage at the NYT. Sun rises in East.
The story is headlined: “In a private dinner, Trump Demanded Loyalty. Comey Demurred”
To see the bias in that pitch, just look at what the story actually says.
- There were only two people in the room at that dinner: Trump and Comey.
- Comey says, “Trump demanded loyalty from me. I, brave soul, refused.”
- Trump says, loyalty was never even discussed.
I have no way of knowing what happened in the meeting. You have no way. And the New York Times has no way. But look at their news headline. Comey is telling the truth, they are saying; Trump is lying. That’s possible. But it is not certain.
The headline should have read “Comey says Trump Demanded Loyalty. Trump says the issue never came up.”
Here’s the story, which is more accurate than the editorializing in the NYT headline:
Only seven days after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president, James B. Comey has told associates, the F.B.I. director was summoned to the White House for a one-on-one dinner with the new commander in chief.
The conversation that night in January, Mr. Comey now believes, was a harbinger of his downfall this week as head of the F.B.I., according to two people who have heard his account of the dinner.
As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him.
Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not “reliable” in the conventional political sense.
The White House says this account is not correct. And Mr. Trump, in an interview on Thursday with NBC, described a far different dinner conversation with Mr. Comey in which the director asked to have the meeting and the question of loyalty never came up. It was not clear whether he was talking about the same meal, but they are believed to have had only one dinner together. –New York Times
Comment: Is there anybody at the NYT who knows the difference between reporting and commentary? If there is, she’s not anywhere near the masthead.
◆ Quotas, Quotas, Quotas!! Freshman Senator wants mandated diversity on everything in Congress (Fox News)
One of the U.S. Senate’s newest members is proposing to shake up the chamber by mandating “diversity” quotas for everything from staffs to committees.
A proposal by Nevada’s freshman Democratic senator, Catherine Cortez Masto, could mimic efforts in corporate America. . . .
“You just have to walk in the room and look at the Senators that are there — the 100 Senators, right? You could see the lack of diversity.”
Comment: I’m absolutely opposed to discrimination on the usual prohibited grounds. And I appreciate diversity on multiple dimensions, including not everybody working on Capitol Hill being a lawyer (as, of course, Sen. Masto is).
But, Sen. Masto, as I understand it, Senators are selected by an alternative mechanism. So, how does Sen. Masto plan to mandate her kind of diversity there. Btw, some democracies actually do mandate such gender diversity, requiring parties to put up slates that meet their regulatory standards.
Typically, when these mandates go in, we get upper-middle-class, highly educated people who check off different boxes for some things, while we ignore all the other similarities among them.
◆ Former Rep. Corrine Brown stole big-time from the charities associated with her. Now, she’s been convicted (News4Jax, Jacksonville, FL)
She said that she never knew where the money was coming from; her staff handled such things. The staff testified otherwise. The jury didn’t buy her story.
Comment: This won’t end well.
ZipDialog will post less frequently for the next few days, as I travel the friendly skies. Sarcasm off.