"Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

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"Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby toucana on May 16th, 2017, 7:33 pm 

Breaking news:
article by journalist Michael Schmidt in NYT today claims:

President Trump asked FBI director James Comey to shut down the FBI investigation into gen. Michael Flynn's activities and connections to Russia, just one day after the national security advisor resigned in February.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/us/politics/james-comey-trump-flynn-russia-investigation.html?mtrref=t.co&_r=0
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby someguy1 on May 16th, 2017, 8:54 pm 

I haven't followed this is super detail. But isn't the actual known fact of the matter that:

* An anonymous source said that Comey's own notes said ... such and so.

Just drawing the distinction between what's true, and what an anonymous source says that someone's possibly self-serving notes said.

For example I could say, "My personal notes show that in private, toucana totally agreed with me about the unmitigated evil of the government." It might even be true. My notes DID say that. Because I LIED in my notes in preparation for anonymously leaking them to the Washington Post.

Yes?

That said, I'll certainly stipulate that when Trump fired Comey I was initially supportive; but Trump's extremely poor handling of the predictable outrage has hurt him badly. He is always his own worst enemy. His agenda is totally stalled now. Which is mostly a good thing anyway.
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby someguy1 on May 16th, 2017, 9:20 pm 

ps -- Anatomy of fake news. I did a dive into the NYT story.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/16/us/p ... ation.html

Headline: Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him to End Flynn Investigation

Lead para: "President Trump asked the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, to shut down the federal investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, in an Oval Office meeting in February, according to a memo Mr. Comey wrote shortly after the meeting." [my emphasis]

Paragraph 4: "Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo.

Note that the people who read the memo are not named. So what's really true is that anonymous sources claim that Comey wrote that such and so. The headline simply says such and so. That's what fake news is. The story doesn't support the lurid headline.
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby BadgerJelly on May 17th, 2017, 1:26 am 

There is no such thing as "fake news". News is news. You have to make a decision as to what you deem worthy or not.

Really interesting news would be "Trump doesn't say anything provocative or dumb today!" That would be a worthy headline. Distraction is just distracting. Bad weapons do many bad things in bad ways.

Stupid people trying to sound smart always sound doubly stupid XD haha
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby toucana on May 17th, 2017, 4:51 am 

NBC, CNN, Associated Press, and Reuters have all independently confirmed the original NYT story.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/16/comey-memo-says-trump-asked-him-to-shut-down-flynn-probe-nyt.html

The memo in question was a contemporaneous record, a memo to file written by the FBI director immediately after the event and subsequently shared with senior colleagues within the FBI. Such contemporaneous records by serving FBI agents have in general a very high evidential value in court proceedings.

James Comey has an excellent track record when it comes to evidential trails in disputed matters of record. His detailed memory of an attempt by then-White House chief of staff Andy Card and then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales to convince then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, sick in the hospital, to reauthorize the domestic spying program in 2004, wound up being validated.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/16/politics/trump-comey-fbi/index.html

If you think reports of James Comey's account are 'fake news', then ask yourself two questions:
i. Why would a serving FBI director misrepresent the content of a private discussion with the president back in February and do so in a contemporaneous record written at the time ?
ii. Why did Trump ask both his VP Mike Pence and his AG Jeff Sessions to leave the room before starting a private discussion with FBI director James Comey ?

There doesn't seem to be any dispute from the WH that this is exactly what happened, that AG Sessions tried to linger in the room, possibly because he was aware of the potential impropriety of such a one-on-one meeting, and was ordered out of the room by Trump before the conversation with the FBI director began.

Then there is the context within which the conversation took place, namely Trump's manifest wish not just to protect a personal friend Michael Flynn from prosecution, but also to shut down an ongoing FBI enquiry into possible connections between his 2016 presidential campaign, and Russian intelligence operatives. An enquiry that had been ongoing since the previous June of 2016.

There seems to be a lack of comprehension amongst members of Trump's camp, that this FBI investigation is not a simple criminal investigation. It is a very large multi-bureau counter-espionage operation being led by the FBI which is the mandated agency in charge of all counter-intelligence operations within the USA.

For president Trump and his increasingly beleaguered press officers to try and insist that the FBI's enquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is nothing more than 'fake news' invented by political opponents is a form of wilful ignorance and self-serving hubris that is likely to be very destructive indeed.
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby someguy1 on May 17th, 2017, 1:38 pm 

I merely pointed out that the NYT headline said X when the story reported that anonymous sources said that Comey wrote X in his possibly self-serving notes.

There's little point in my trying to debate the underlying facts since first, I wasn't there (and neither were you) and second, Trump's mis-steps have hurt him badly and the entire MSM are baying for his blood. This will have to play out on its own.

I'm simply pointing out that the facts as reported in their own story do not even remotely justify the headline. And that headline has been repeated in every MSM outlet as if it were fact, rather than an unsourced claim about what someone wrote in their personal notes and then allegedly reported to the FBI.

Even your claim that Comey handed his notes to the FBI is unverified and unproven. Nobody has seen the notes. Nobody has subpoenaed the notes. The notes have not been entered into evidence in any legal proceeding, nor has any living human even seen these notes. All we have is somebody reporting that someone else is claiming to have seen the notes, which for all we know are self-serving lies.

The MSM has a remarkably low bar for what counts as evidence. Surely you can see that.

If there's a car crash at State and Main, that's a fact. If an anonymous source claims to have seen a memo that might or might not exist, that states things that might or might not be true, that's not a fact. Epistemology 101. "An anonymous source claims to have seen a memo asserting that the sun rose today." That's not evidence. You wouldn't take that for evidence Couldn't be entered as evidence in a court proceeding and wouldn't satisfy any philosopher.
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby toucana on May 17th, 2017, 2:57 pm 

Russian premier Vladimir Putin has offered to supply a tape recording of last week's Oval office meeting between president Trump, Russian foreign minister Lavrov, and ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

http://edition.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/russia-us-trump-lavrov-intel/index.html

Perhaps the Senate intelligence committee should just ask nicely if Putin can supply a copy of a tape recording of the February meeting between Trump and FBI director James Comey as well ? That was held in the Oval office too.
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby someguy1 on May 17th, 2017, 5:15 pm 

toucana » May 17th, 2017, 12:57 pm wrote:Perhaps the Senate intelligence committee should just ask nicely if Putin can supply a copy of a tape recording of the February meeting between Trump and FBI director James Comey as well ? That was held in the Oval office too.


Haha I get it. You believe in the Russian conspiracy to hack the election? You know a DNC staffer named Seth Rich allegedly sent over 44,000 emails to Wikileaks. Then he was shot multiple times and killed, and the killer did not take his wallet or watch or phone. The police concluded it was a robbery. As a Law and Order fan I have Lennie Briscoe in my head saying, "They left all his valuables? Not a robbery. You say they were startled before they could grab his stuff? Then why multiple shots? You don't shoot someone multiple times to mug them. Nope. Not a robbery."

Anyway this Comey thing. I find it interesting because on the one hand the story is nothing that would constitute evidence unless someone is willing to state under oath that they saw such a memo; and that the memo reflects the truth rather than Comey covering his own ass.

On the other hand Trump is a flaming fool. ALL his problems are self-inflicted. If Trump had handled the Comey firing properly it would have blown over in a couple of weeks. Instead Trump blindsided his own staff and it got worse from there. And if he actually did tell Comey to lay off Flynn he's a fool. He should know Comey is a self-serving weasel. And Flynn's not worth Trump's support. Trump should take lessons from the Clintons on how to cut loose friends who get in political trouble.

Trump still thinks he's running a reality show and using banktruptcy as a business strategy. It's awful. I don't defend the guy. I'm just withholding judgment till I see a story that's sourced better than two anonymous sources telling a story about a self-serving memo from the likes of Comey.

By the way I hope it's clear I'm not advocating any thesis or even staying very much on topic here. I'm using this thread for idle political chitchat. I'm interested to see how this plays out. For the record Pence would be far worse than Trump because Pence is a genuine conservative (unlike Trump) who actually knows how the government works. Be careful what you wish for.
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby Braininvat on May 17th, 2017, 5:43 pm 

By the way I hope it's clear I'm not advocating any thesis or even staying very much on topic here. I'm using this thread for idle political chitchat.


You are actually quite on topic. In a news thread, it is quite legitimate to question sources and the veracity of specific claims. It would be terrific if everyone were "idle" the way you are. Too often, we swallow the narrative that we prefer without even chewing.
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby Braininvat on May 17th, 2017, 6:08 pm 

I must admit this zero-substance news story was good for a chuckle....

http://theweek.com/speedreads/699646/republicans-are-now-fighting-over-who-gets-credit-bringing-trumps-impeachment-first

Many of us sense a lack of, hmmm, what do I call it, maybe "self-awareness" in the GOP these days.
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby someguy1 on May 17th, 2017, 6:13 pm 

Braininvat » May 17th, 2017, 4:08 pm wrote:I must admit this zero-substance news story was good for a chuckle....

http://theweek.com/speedreads/699646/republicans-are-now-fighting-over-who-gets-credit-bringing-trumps-impeachment-first

Many of us sense a lack of, hmmm, what do I call it, maybe "self-awareness" in the GOP these days.


Robert Mueller appointed special prosecutor. Breaking news. Dems are happy, Trump not so much.

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/1 ... obe-238524
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby toucana on May 18th, 2017, 6:04 am 

someguy1 wrote
You know a DNC staffer named Seth Rich allegedly sent over 44,000 emails to Wikileaks. Then he was shot multiple times and killed

Do you mean this Seth Ritch ? -->
http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/16/media/seth-rich-family-response-claims-of-wikileaks-contact/

As the headline says, it took only hours for the wheels to fall off that particular right-wing conspiracy fable.

Keep up !
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby someguy1 on May 18th, 2017, 11:48 am 

toucana » May 18th, 2017, 4:04 am wrote:someguy1 wrote
You know a DNC staffer named Seth Rich allegedly sent over 44,000 emails to Wikileaks. Then he was shot multiple times and killed


Do you mean this Seth Ritch ? -->
...
Keep up !


No, Seth Rich. Keep up! And look up the word "allegedly" which I put in to get ahead of your snark.
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby toucana on May 18th, 2017, 6:12 pm 

allegedly.png

You mean this definition ?
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby someguy1 on May 18th, 2017, 7:16 pm 

toucana » May 18th, 2017, 4:12 pm wrote:
allegedly.png

You mean this definition ?


Toucana, I can't get up the energy to argue over Trump. This is a process that's totally out of control. No matter how many enemies Trump has, he is always his own worst enemy. Had he fired Comey properly (having a plan, getting allies on board, getting the talking points out to the staff, having a replacement ready, and then shutting his freaking mouth and turning off his tweeter) it would have blown over by now and he'd look like the only guy in the country who had the balls to do what everyone knew had to be done.

Make no mistake, as Obama used to say. Everyone in Washington wanted Comey gone. Most of the Democrats calling for Trump's head are themselves on record calling for Comey's firing. Trump did the impossible. He made Comey a hero.

At this point I'm just sitting back and watching. I can't get emotionally involved in this. If the Dems succeed in deposing Trump, then what? Pence is a strong social conservative who actually knows how the government works. He'd be far worse. And the Dems are willing to destroy the country to avoid taking responsibility for the Hillary debacle.

So I'm just sitting back, watching, and hoping the world doesn't blow up.

Re Seth Rich, I will stipulate that it's a weak story that his family has already disowned, that the investigator is being paid by someone with an agenda, and that it would need a lot more proof before we take it seriously.

That said ... I do watch Law and Order. Multiple shots, didn't take the valuables. You call it a robbery, a coincidence? I can't say otherwise, I haven't got the proof. It doesn't meet my smell test. It does yours?
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby toucana on May 18th, 2017, 8:51 pm 

I once spent years studying the ballistics and photographic evidence of JFK's assassination. Forty years later in 2003, I visited Dealey Plaza in Dallas Texas and actually stood on the famous plinth with a camera to test Zapruder's field of view, and see for myself how difficult the pan was.

One thing I learned from that experience was to be very wary of conspiracy theories. The devil is always in the detail, and the inconvenient details; the ones which did not fit your favoured hypothesis and which you were tempted to discard were always the ones that came back to haunt you.

Most people, myself included, do not know enough about firearms or forensic science in general to make competent detectives. TV true-crime is a starting point, but not a reliable vade-mecum I fear.

I simply haven't studied the Seth Rich case. The evidence appears to be so compromised by partisan presentations of one type or another that I probably wouldn't even attempt to.

As with the JFK case, you would need to set aside all consequential political narratives and focus solely on the scientific forensic evidence in front of you to determine what is veridical.
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby toucana on May 24th, 2017, 6:03 am 

Even Fox News has now belatedly removed the Seth Rich conspiracy story from their website, a full week after it was discredited by other major news media.

http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/23/media/fox-news-removes-seth-rich-story/

In a statement Fox News said:
On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich. The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed. We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.


One person who apparently didn't get that particular email was Fox News anchor Sean Hannity who was still pushing the story on Twitter on Tuesday until he made a statement on his Tuesday evening show that he would no longer continue to discuss the story in deference to the wishes of Rich's family.
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Re: "Trump Asked Comey To Shut Down Flynn Probe"

Postby Braininvat on June 8th, 2017, 3:46 pm 

Comey's testimony before a Senate committee today seems to point towards a convergence of various Trump actions on demonstrable intent to obstruct justice. This article is quite helpful on what are the legal grounds for an obstruction of justice charge. Many legal experts are saying there is enough to proceed.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/06/08/us/politics/obstruction-of-justice-trump-comey.html
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