James Comey

The Russia Show

by Kevin Kelton

The other day on MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber,” HuffPost Editorial Director Howard Fineman said that he doesn’t think Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be able to make a case for obstruction of justice against the president, but he does think Mueller has a strong case for collusion. One hour later on the same network, former RNC Chairman Michael Steele told Chris Matthews that he doesn’t think Mueller can make a case for collusion, but does have strong one for obstruction.

Two knowledgeable political experts, two opposite opinions.

The truth is that when it comes to the Trump-Russia investigation, no one but Mueller and his top deputies knows anything. Not you, not me, not the TV experts. Yet Facebookers on both sides of the partisan seesaw keep spouting nonsense about it with absolute certainty.

One of my favorite silly talking points is, “Collusion is not a crime.” This comment is laughable for its utter lack of legal context. It’s true, if you and I collude to get the best price on a used car, that is not a crime. But if we collude to steal the car, it is. Collusion to commit a crime is called “conspiracy,” and yes, it’s very much against the law. Don’t believe me? See here and here.

Another ludicrous argument is, “There isn’t one shred of evidence supporting collusion.” Actually, there’s a whole bunch. First, you have the Don Jr. June 9 Trump Tower meeting, which was shown in texts to be about meeting with Russian nationals to get and use stolen Hillary Clinton emails with the express goal of changing the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. Second, you have the candidate himself asking Russia on national television to hack (i.e., steal) and publish private citizens’ emails with the express intent of affecting the outcome of the election. He even promised a quid pro quo by saying, “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Think of it this way: a man involved in a contentious divorce goes into a crowded restaurant and says for everyone to hear, “I’m urging someone to break my ex-wife’s legs. I think you’ll be rewarded mightily for it.” A few days later his wife turns up beaten with a broken leg and broken arm. Don’t you think that is evidence of his complicity in the act? It may not be enough to convict him by itself, but along with other evidence it creates a powerful argument for his guilt.

On the liberal side, my favorite gibberish is that Trump’s cabinet may soon invoke the 25th Amendment. Think about it. Let’s just say for a moment that someone, say Rex Tillerson, was secretly considering it. Who would he whisper it to? Ben Carson? Betsy DeVos? Steve Mnuchin? Sonny Perdue? Wilber Ross? Every one of them would run to the Oval Office to report the traitor in a heartbeat. Go find me four Trump Cabinet appointees you think would support this kind of unprecedented American coup d’état, let alone eight. It’s preposterous. Trump is ready to jail Hillary Clinton for her purported crimes against America. What do you think he’d do to a handful of treasonous ex-Cabinet plotters?

But I think my favorite argument is, “Who cares if Russia stole the DNC emails? Isn’t the content of what’s in them more important?” The simple answer is, no.

Because an election campaign should be based on relatively equal transparency, especially where private material is concerned. If I can see and review one candidate’s tax returns, I should be able to see and review the others’. If I can get my hands on one candidate’s medical records, I should get them for both. If I can view one candidate’s criminal conviction record, it’s only fair to make the other’s public as well. Judging one candidate on personal information that the other one doesn’t have to release is fundamentally unfair.

So to have the DNC emails purloined and published without releasing the RNC’s emails as well was an inequitable prejudice against Clinton. Had the RNC emails also been leaked, we most likely would have seen just as much dirt and ugliness in the Republican primary race as we saw in the Democrats’. (Which, frankly, wasn’t really all that bad.)

And by the way, for those who don’t know history, the Watergate break-in was about stealing the DNC’s private files. It doesn’t matter what’s in them; if you steal private campaign information and use it you are breaking the law. In the electronic age, it’s called Data Theft and it’s prohibited by several state and federal statues.

But maybe the most delicious irony of The Russia Show is that everyone who used to detest James Comey now adore him, and everyone who used to adore him now thinks he’s a conniving, lying enemy of the state.

What is true is that the Trump-Russia investigation has become catnip Facebook groups like Open Fire. Like any good TV soap opera, everyone has their favorite villain and plenty of theories as to how it will all end.

What’s your favorite talking point about Trump, Mueller, Comey, and Russia?

A More Perfect New Year (Ep. 134)

The first MPU podcast of the new year looks at milestones from the year past and what it means to do a political podcast in our heightened era of political awareness.

The Miserable Mind of a Miserable Man

by Kevin Kelton

Imagine the late-night inner thoughts of Donald Trump. Imagine you’re him. You know you lied, cheated, bullied, and bamboozled your way to the presidency, the same unethical way you achieved every “success” in your life. Now Robert Mueller, leading a team of expert prosecutors and the entire FBI, is going through your business and financial life with a lice comb. You know what is out there for him to find. And you know he’ll find it.

Read More

Comey Time (Ep. 103)

This week’s More Perfect Union podcast looks at the senate testimony of James Comey, the likelihood of impeachment charges, congress’s attempt to defang Dodd-Frank, and a little gossip about Senator Dodd and Princess Leah.

Like what you heard? Subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a podcast! 

And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Cliff, Helena, Molly, and lots of other smart, fun people.

The Impeachment Clock (Ep. 100)

In the 100th episode of The More Perfect Union podcast, the gang talks about the prospects for impeachment now that Robert Mueller is on the case. They also look at what Democrats can do to sure up their case to voters in 2018, and why Calista was the Gingrich appointed Ambassador to the Vatican.

Like what you heard? Subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a podcast! 

And if you like talking politics, join us in our Facebook political debate group, OPEN FIRE, where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Rebekah, Cliff, Helena, Molly, and lots of other smart, fun people.

The Comey Quake

Episode 60 of “The More Perfect Union” podcast features a discussion of FBI Director James Comey’s October Surprise letter, Obamacare sticker shock, the race to control the United States Senate, and an interview with John Hartness, the author of We Are Not This – Carolina Writers for Equality, an anthology book about North Carolina’s HB2 “bathroom law” that limits the use of public restrooms by transgender people.

Like what you heard? Subscribe on iTunes and don’t miss a podcast! And please don’t forget to Rate and Review us on iTunes.

If you like talking politics, join us on Facebook in OPEN FIRE, our political group where you can discuss news and politics with Kevin, D.J., Greg, Emily, Cliff, and lots of other smart, fun people.

Six Ways the Comey Letter May HELP Hillary

Of course, given her choice, it’s pretty likely that Hillary Clinton would have preferred that the new James Comey letter never happened. Dealing with sideways slander from the director of the FBI 11 days before an election is never fun. But there are six ways the Comey letter may actually end up helping the Democrats next week:

1) It changed the narrative off the Obamacare price increases. That sticker shock was the more damaging revelation of last week, especially down ballot. Voters are more likely to dismiss the email thing as nothing new – especially as more info comes out this week showing the initial media hysteria was vastly overblown. So this may actually be a better issue for Clinton to close on. There was no good way to rebut the ACA price increases. It’s much easier to play the victim of a runaway media. Just ask Donald Trump. Read More

Why Not Indict James Comey?

Every day on Facebook I see several posts claiming that FBI Director James Comey said Hillary Clinton had lied about her emails, and several posts counter-arguing that Comey proved Hillary didn’t lie. It all proves to me one very unimpeachable fact: James Comey did a crappy job of clearing things up.

In his July 5th press conference, reading from a prepared script, Comey mixed up his explanation of what material was marked classified, what wasn’t, and whether it was indeed classified at the time or not. He further expressed his opinion that Clinton exhibited “extreme carelessness,” a subjective opinion not bound in law and therefore beyond the scope of his official responsibilities. The FBI director is not supposed to give opinions or pass judgments beyond what is legal and what is not. His job was to find evidence of criminal wrongdoing, not to evaluate Mrs. Clinton’s performance as Secretary of State.

Then, in his July 7th testimony before congress, Comey backtracked on most of the so-called facts he had laid out a few days earlier. He acknowledged that only three out of 30,000 emails were indeed suspected of containing any material that was classified at the time, that those emails had no formal headers to show them being classified, just a small (c) marking in the body of the text, and that it was therefore a “reasonable inference” for Clinton to think they weren’t classified. He also changed his characterization from “extreme carelessness” to “great carelessness” (a distinction lost on me) and gave plenty of other testimony to either exonerate Clinton or dilute his earlier, stinging rebuke from behind his FBI lectern. Read More

Donald’s Terrible, Awful, Not-So-Good Week

SEGMENTS:

Could Gary Kroeger be the next Al Franken?

Gary channels Walter Mondale and Alan Alda (and millennials go, “Whaaaat?)

Donald Trump’s terrible, awful, not-so-good week (and Republicans go, “Whaaaat?”)

Hillary Clinton gets caught in a lie about lying (and the media goes, “Whaaaat?”)

Gary Johnson does a Town Hall (and 90% of America goes, “Whaaaat?”)

State of the Race

Politics, Policing, Pride, and Prejudice

Segments:

Hillary avoids indictment – what it means for her campaign

Race, Policing and Gun Violence – a painful discussion

The Kelly Thomas police beating death (video posted below)

Trump plays hardball with the party

What to expect at the GOP Convention

What happens when Bernie endorses