back to article Donald Trumped: Comey says Prez is a liar – and admits he's a leaker

Former FBI director James Comey today spoke in public for the first time about his relationship with President Donald Trump, and he didn't stint in calling out the Leader of the Free WorldTM on being economical with the truth. At a hearing in Washington DC, Comey claimed the president asked for a personal loyalty oath at a …

  1. Florida1920 Silver badge

    "it is now established"

    That Atty. Kasowitz has sold his soul. Save your money, Marc. Satan Your employer has a long history of not paying his debts, and throwing "loyal" employees under the bus.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: "it is now established"

      I gather than at least four big law firms declined the honour to go to bat for Trump.

  2. Mi Tasol

    My late father in law (a senior legal official) often said Lawyer is the olde Englishe spelling of liar.

    Trump's lawyers interpretation of Comey's testimony shows the Donalds lawyer is the epitome of liars

    1. gerdesj Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      "My late father in law (a senior legal official) often said Lawyer is the olde Englishe spelling of liar."

      Good on your father in law - I'd give him a +1 (insightful or funny) for that. However, without any source apart from my feverish noodle, I would imagine that lawyer is similar to say bombardier or halberdier ie a wielder of law.

      I think that nowadays we spell old english "Old English" - no need for the extraneous e suffixes. You could wedge in a Ye as a definite article prefix to indicate antiquity but make sure you use thorn and not y as I have done (I can't find the bloody thing on my keyboard.) I'll leave whether it is Old or Middle English or something else to the experts.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        @ gerdesj

        Upper case thorn is Alt 0222 (Þ) and lower case Alt 0254 (þ) on a Windows PC. Law is late Old English (ca. 1000 AD).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ gerdesj

          Gadzooks! Many thanks.

    2. Louis Schreurs BEng
      Devil

      Who's a liar?

      lawyer (n.) Look up lawyer at Dictionary.com

      late 14c. lauier, lawer, lawere (mid-14c. as a surname), "one versed in law, one whose profession is suits in court or client advice on legal rights," from Middle English lawe "law" (see law) + -iere. Spelling with -y- predominated from 17c. (see -yer). In the New Testament (Luke xiv.3, etc.) "interpreter of Mosaic law." Old English had lahwita, with wita "sage, wise man; adviser councilor." Related: Lawyerly.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Who's a liar?

        "lawyer (n.) Look up lawyer at Dictionary.com"

        Wait a few hours then look it up in urbandictionary...

        lawyer (n) Old English ...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Stephen Colbert had the line that "Lies, Plain and Simple" would be a good name for a Trump family law firm ..... makes a change from "Sue, Grabbit and Run" i suppose ....

      1. sebt

        Lies, Plain and Simple

        I was in Berlin on Friday trying to find a paper with coverage of the UK election.

        Bought one with the headline "Luegen, schlicht und einfach", and thought I'd hit the jackpot. Turned out be an equally exciting, but different story. But Lies, Plain and Simple would work just as well as a description of May's campaign.

    4. gandalfcn

      Liars

      Calling lawyers liars has been common for many, many years, back into antiquity, basically because they earn a living skirting the edges of honesty.

    5. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      @Mi Tasol

      Lawyers learn that unless you're under oath, where you are compelled to be truthful, its ok to lie. And even under oath, as long as its not an outright lie, you can say things that are less than truthful. There exists a willful intent to twist the interpretation of the facts to their favor.

      If caught in a lie, the lawyer will apologize and say that they misspoke. Mea Culpa.

      Mr. Comey is a lawyer. Don't forget that.

      Here's the take-away from Comey's testimony.

      His recollection of the events differ from those of Trump. Since they were the only ones present this becomes a he said, she said issue. Both parties will recollect the meeting differently.

      With respect to Trump's lawyer's statement...

      He honed in on the timeline of events.

      Comey said he leaked the memo because of Trump's tweet about there being tapes.

      Yet the lawyer indicated that Comey leaked the memo before Trump's tweet.

      This should be easy to corroborate. If true, it will hurt Comey.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: @Mi Tasol

        His recollection of the events differ from those of Trump. Since they were the only ones present this becomes a he said, she said issue.

        But Trump has a problem here. He has zero credibility. He has been repeatetedly caught lying in public. His whole political schtick is basically damn manners or the truth, I'm just going to spout my shit. And you either like the cut of my jib, or hate me (in which case I don't care).

        Well that's all very well for winning an election on a minority vote, against a rubbish candidate. But when it comes to whether people believe your given word, it has some serious drawbacks.

        Whereas Comey has used the lawyer's/investigator's habit of writing a note of what happened straight after the meeting.

        By the way, in a he-said-she-said situation, the courts will put more weight on the person who wrote it down at the time than the one who didn't.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Boffin

          @Sparty ... Re: @Mi Tasol

          Trump does have credibility.

          Comey, on the other hand is damaged goods.

          There's more to it of course.

          The point of a he said, she said trial is that the person who wins is the one who can tell a better story to the jury.

          Comey has his notes, which he admitted to being the leaker. He can be charged over that. Even though they are his work product, under the official records act, they are the property of the Government. And it wasn't just a note by Comey, it was something said between Comey and the POTUS. Classified or not, Comey can be charged. (Already Trump's lawyer(s) are asking for the judiciary committee to look in to the leak.)

          You also don't seem to get it. Trump won based on the electoral college. It exists for a reason. Had Trump spent more time in CA he could have taken more of the vote. Clinton lost the midwest because she ignored us.

          And in a he said, she said... the courts also put more weight on the context of the situation. Comey leaked his note after he was fired.

          At the same time... going in front of congress vs going in front of the special prosecutor are two different things. The special prosecutor can and will grill Comey.

      2. td97402

        Re: @Mi Tasol

        Mr. Comey shared a memo with a friend and thence the press at the time he was a private citizen, so not a leak at all. Now if he still worked for the FBI at the time that would be different.

        Second, notes of conversations made at the time by law enforcement, especially FBI types, are given very high credence in court. So unless Trump has tapes that contradicts them I am going with the notes.

        Finally, Comey's account fits in with what we know of Trump's antics. Watch the video from today's "Cabinet Meeting" for corroboration.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Trump's lawyers interpretation of Comey's testimony..is the epitome of liars"

      Not actually a lie.

      What you pay lawyers for is a creative (sometimes very creative) interpretation of a certain (often very carefully selected) set of events to prove your point of view.

      Much like telemarketing but usually better paid.

      Anon because I've done a lot of telemarketing and I've probably called several people here over the years.

  3. Youngone Silver badge

    Impeachment?

    Does all this point to Mr. Trump slowly being maneuvered into a position where he is impeached, then prosecuted?

    I don't know enough to tell whether anything Mr. Comey said means Mr. Trump has actually broken the law?

    1. Marshalltown

      Re: Impeachment?

      For a paranoid view, Trump has been set up to take the fall, leaving Mike Pence to assume the Oval Office by a Domionist conspiracy to take over the US in a religious dictatorship. Trump is so obviously unprepared, so clearly ignorant, and so blatantly corrupt that he was likely a target since his coke snorting days in the '70s.

      1. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

        Re: Impeachment?

        That's a good one.

        1. Rich 11 Silver badge

          Re: Impeachment?

          If 'good' means 'extremely disturbing'.

          Anyway, checks and balances. Pence won't be able to get much more done than Trump, at least not beyond the usual Republican demonisation of the poor and tax cuts for the rich.

      2. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

        Re: Impeachment?

        naw, too complex.

        The Donald is a product of Hollywood and on record as a good donator to Democrat causes.

        He's the epitome of Scapegoat, by which his actions are all used to smear the GOP and guarantee not only the Midterm elections -which have no term limits - but to guarantee a Presidential win by the Democrat Party in 3 years.

        Straight up Machiavelli.

        The only real "collusion" we'll end up finding, if at all, will be anyone who kept secret records of the setup for all this. Chump gets attention and improves his "brand" and the Dems get supermajority again for everything.

        Which then they can still blame everything that goes wrong on the GOP, like they do in California, which hasn't had an actual GOP presence or anything even strong enough to mount an opposition, in decades.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          A pardon doesn't prevent a trial

          It prevents the defendant from undergoing any punishment, but since the president's powers don't extend over the judiciary branch, if for example he pardoned Michael Flynn, they could still try Flynn in a court of law and find him guilty.

          However, the pardon would remove the leverage the special prosecutor would have over Flynn to get him to roll over on Trump - it would be the threat of prison rather than the threat of a show trial that motivates him to sell out Trump. It would make Trump look REALLY guilty to do so, and guarantee nothing gets done in the next year quite possibly followed by a democratic landslide in 2018 as democrats would come out in force and republicans would be rather disillusioned about their president.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: A pardon doesn't prevent a trial

            "However, the pardon would remove the leverage the special prosecutor would have over Flynn to get him to roll over on Trump - it would be the threat of prison rather than the threat of a show trial that motivates him to sell out Trump."

            I've no idea whether this is a realistic situation you're discussing but this would be a total travesty of legal procedure. One doesn't have to be a Trump admirer to see that although I suppose it helps to be a detached bystander.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "leaving Mike Pence to assume the Oval Office by a Domionist conspiracy to take over the US "

        It seems for some "The Handmaids Tale" was a manual, not a warning.

        Others have suggested Pence (like the smallest unit of British currency?) is the Ultimate Deterrent against "lone gunmen."

        "You shoot me, you'll have this SEL to deal with."

        Bottom line. People wanting some sane behavior in US politics should forget assassinating the President.

        They'd need to widen the net to more of a decapitation strike.

        Just saying.

        I'll leave others to think about how far down the National Command Authority you'd need to go

        Remember kids, it is a Federal crime to make threats against the POTUS.

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Impeachment?

      I don't see an impeachment coming because it begs the question of whether obstruction falls under "high crimes and misdemeanors" and even then an obstruction of justice charge is unlikely since the hierarchy is that the FBI sits under the DOJ in the executive branch and the chief executive is the president of the US. As the chief executive, if he says to drop the investigation then it gets dropped and sorry kids but there is nothing illegal about it. Heck he could proactively pardon Flynn. Obama could have done the same for Hillary but appearances and legacy clearly matter to Obama and no, I won't mention the Rich pardon by Hillary's husband who cared somewhat less for appearances. Oh I already mentioned it, oops. This is also why independent investigators are often brought in in cases like this so that they are more independent although typically still under the executive branch.

      Look, Obama took the step in backing off on some aspects of the drug war as was his prerogative and it's well within Trump's power to back off on the Russia - Flynn affair if he so chooses. Granted the former is in my opinion a nice first step but needs significant expansion and/or reform and the latter is about as bone-headed as is possible but neither are illegal. Look at the AG of most, if not all, states and you'll see they have the power to drop charges against anyone whether in exchange for something like testimony against bigger fish now or in the future or even nothing at all.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Impeachment?

        The real question is for a lot of Republican politicians facing mid-terms.

        Do they stand up in front of a crowd of pickup truck driving American "patriots" and say; so the president conspired with the Rooskies to cheat your vote - but technically under clause 4, sub-section III, sub-para-9 of the whatever act that wasn't technically illegal so I'm supporting him.....

        1. Bert 1
          Coat

          Re: Impeachment?

          "but technically under clause 4, sub-section III, sub-para-9 of the whatever act that wasn't technically illegal"...

          "All nations attending the conference are only allocated one parking space." Is that entirely relevant sir?

          1. James 51 Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Impeachment?

            If the Chinese delagation want to bring two cars they'll have to pay import taxes on them.

      2. Androgynous Cow Herd

        Re: Impeachment?

        The Republican party made sure it was grounds for impeachment when it was used as the basis of the Clinton impeachment. He didn't get impeached for the skin flute concert in the Oval Office, it was the coverup.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Boffin

          @ Cow Herd ... Re: Impeachment?

          No.

          Where's the cover up?

          Trump didn't use executive privilege to stop Comey. (He could have)

          Trump encouraged Comey to testify because Comey couldn't accuse Trump without himself getting charged on a couple of counts.

          The worst thing for Trump, Comey called him a liar because their recollection of the meeting differ. The Democrats and the MSM pounced on that.

          1. Paul 195

            Re: @ Ian Michael Gumby

            That's twice on this thread you've used the phrase "Their recollection of the meeting differs". Comey made notes of each conversation and shared it with senior staff at the FBI shortly after the conversations. In the absence of a recording, this is a fairly high standard of evidence. Although not everybody in Washington loves Comey, no-one has ever accused him of dishonesty or being a liar.

            Trump can't remember what he said yesterday, and even when it's repeated back to him will often flat out deny he ever said it

            Are you really, really, really saying you give the testimonies of these two equal weight?

            1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

              Re: @ Ian Michael Gumby

              Taking notes is fine but until there's third party corroboration you aren't going to get any convictions based on 'he said, she said' type of evidence.

              1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
                Boffin

                @Eddie Ito Re: @ Ian Michael Gumby

                Did Comey take notes during the meeting?

                No. He took them afterwards. So even if he showed his notes... there will be questions.

                Not sure where you're talking about 'convictions'.

                With respect to Comey... both sides agree that a conversation took place. Comey's notes done after the fact are his recollections of what he heard and what he thought the POTUS meant.

                Trump doesn't deny that the meeting occurred but does dispute Comey's account of it. So Comey could be correct in that his notes reflects what he thought about the meeting. Trump recalls something different. Since there was no third party to corroborate either. Notes or not... its still he said / she said.

                1. Kiwi Silver badge
                  WTF?

                  Re: @Eddie Ito @ Ian Michael Gumby

                  So Comey could be correct in that his notes reflects what he thought about the meeting. Trump recalls something different. Since there was no third party to corroborate either. Notes or not... its still he said / she said.

                  What you (willfully?) miss is that Comey is a person who is regarded as being quite honest and also is a conscientious person - someone who is know to take meticulous notes of meetings, and given his former role in the FBI I expect he would've had training in such matters at least to the level of fairly senior police "detectives". On the other hand you have Trump, who has been seen often to publicly make a statement, often in an inappropriate manner (eg 3am tweets), and has also been known to publicly deny statements he made on TV just a day or two before. Not only does Trump not have the same training that Comey has had, he also does not have the reputation for honesty Comey has. Trump's recollection has been proven to be quite bad even over a very short term, he's shown he does not use aids such as notes. And Trump's reputation for honesty is as lacking as my bank balance.

                  That means a lot in any hearing. Someone who has a reputation for honesty and meticulous note taking always trumps some bumbling baboon who can't remember what he said from one day to the next and, while very bad at it, lies just about every time he flaps his lips. The only hope Trump would have to win is if recordings are produced that show Comey was completely off in what was said. That seems unlikely, or they'd be out by now.

                  (FTR I am someone who dislikes Comey almost as much as I dislike Trump!)

            2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

              @Paul ... Re: @ Ian Michael Gumby

              Wow, no he did not.

              Comey made notes after the meeting not during the meeting.

              And he most certainly did not share said notes with others.

              Also Comey's notes are his recollection of the events.

              Please don't try to play lawyer.

          2. Androgynous Cow Herd

            Re: @ Cow Herd ... Impeachment?

            If you re read what I actually wrote, I just pointed out that obstruction is indeed grounds for impeachment. I didn't even mention the current president.

            My opinion is that the current president will self sabotage himself out of the job, with the media he hates and fears gleefully helping him every step of the way.

            1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

              Re: @ Cow Herd ... Impeachment?

              Yeah I get Obstruction is grounds for impeachment.

              I was alive during Watergate and the whole Nixon thing.

              I also remember Iran/Contra

              And of course Billy Boy's amazing verbal skills and aw shucks moments.

              The issue is though that Trump didn't commit obstruction. Obama and Lynch committed obstruction.

              Clinton committed obstruction. (Of course its hard to impeach since they are all out of office. ) ;-)

              Trump?

              Sure, let him hang himself. Oh wait. The Democrats are too busy stalling and 'resisting' to let the man and the rest of Congress to get their jobs done.

              Personally I would think that the entire DNC party should be rebuilt from the ground up. Too many wackos in the party.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Impeachment?

          He didn't get impeached for the skin flute concert in the Oval Office, it was the coverup.

          And a messy business it was, too ... blue dress and all.

          (I'll just get my own coat, thanks -- it's the one with the cigar in the pocket.)

      3. Olivier2553

        Re: Impeachment?

        That the AG has the authority to drop charges in some case, in exchange for a greater benefit does not means that the head of state, or the head of government has the authority to overrule a decision of justice.

        If a President had the authority to overrule the judiciary system, that would be the en of democracy, he would not have to follow any law, nor would his friends, the government, etc. and there would be no limit. Some people would be subject to the law and some wouldn't.

        That is why, trying to impose on the course of justice is a very serious offence.

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: Impeachment?

          @Olivier2553

          If a President had the authority to overrule the judiciary system, that would be the en of democracy, he would not have to follow any law, nor would his friends, the government, etc. and there would be no limit. Some people would be subject to the law and some wouldn't.

          You are absolutely right the President as the top of the Executive branch can't overrule the judiciary which is in the Judicial branch of government whose top position is the Supreme Court. He can shut down the DoJ because the DoJ is not part of the Judicial branch of government and the USAG, Jeff Sessions, is the top member of the DoJ. Notice that the AG is not part of the judiciary either but falls under the executive.

          The President would have to still follow the law because things like perjury are impeachable offenses. So far I haven't seen anyone throwing any claims of perjury around because if they did the howling would be far louder than it is now. Listen, I don't have a dog in this fight simply because both Donald and Hillary are both far and away too authoritarian for my liking which gives me some objectivity the rabid blue and red teams don't have. That said talking to the FBI guy over dinner about an investigation isn't going to reach the level of perjury because it wasn't part of the official investigation regardless of what was said. If it had been part of the official investigation there would have been a stenographer sitting in the room recording the whole thing or a video recording and we wouldn't even be discussing who said what because we'd just look at the official record. That's why so many cling to this notion of "obstruction of justice" meme. Frankly I'm not sure Donald is actually smart enough to know he could have simply told Comey to shut the investigation into Flynn down but he didn't.

          @AC

          Not if he himself is implicated, and until this investigation has run its full course (which is very much hasn't) he is under suspicion as a consequence of some very clear established contacts with Russia that fell far outside the purview of anyone with nothing to hide.

          You say he was implicated and under suspicion yet Comey himself said Trump wasn't under investigation of a crime and that "there was not a counterintelligence investigation of Mr. Trump". I get your rage but there's still no evidence of a crime.

          If he's got nothing to hide, the latest 10 years worth of unredacted tax returns would help quite a bit

          I'm sure there are both red and blue team members working at the IRS and I'm equally sure a fair number of them have pulled up Trump's tax returns out of curiosity yet they haven't been leaked even given the governmental agencies are a sieve at this point. There must be a Lois Lerner acolyte still at the IRS or perhaps a stodgy version of Reality Winner or even a Snowden. I'm equally sure that eventually they'll come out and they may likely be embarrassing but I doubt you'll find the smoking gun you're so eager to find in there. At worst, we'll find out just how good his accountant/lawyers really are at hiding money but don't expect a 1099 that reads "income: Putin, fellatio".

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Impeachment?

        @Eddy Ito, Obama could have done the same for Hillary

        Why? You don't need a pardon when 10 subsequent investigations into the same thing (which IMHO amounts to hard core harassment) failed to turn up anything actionable.

        Look, Obama took the step in backing off on some aspects of the drug war as was his prerogative and it's well within Trump's power to back off on the Russia - Flynn affair if he so chooses.

        Not if he himself is implicated, and until this investigation has run its full course (which is very much hasn't) he is under suspicion as a consequence of some very clear established contacts with Russia that fell far outside the purview of anyone with nothing to hide. If agent orange has nothing to hide he should welcome this investigation, and so should the Republicans, but methinks he doth protests too much (a phrase that showed up in the proceedings).

        If he's got nothing to hide, the latest 10 years worth of unredacted tax returns would help quite a bit but given how Trump runs his company there appears to be every chance you'd merely spark more investigations into other things from creative accounting to money laundering. He gives me the strong impression that he HAS something to hide.

        Trump's disrespect for the law does not strike me as something new, it feels like a well established habit.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Impeachment?

          They turned up plenty. Comey, at the time, said they'd found more than enough to prosecute her, but it just didn't happen. The implication was pressure from above to drop the case.

        2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Boffin

          @AC re Obama Re: Impeachment?

          Wow.

          So many things wrong that I don't know where to begin.

          First, Obama made public statements stating an opinion during the investigation. This was in fact putting his finger on scale.

          Second Obama claimed he did nothing to interfere with the investigation. Yet he had many meetings with Lynch who then, according to Comey's testimony yesterday, attempted to influence (obstruct) the investigation in to Clinton. In fact there is more evidence against Lynch and Obama than there is against Trump. Not to mention Comey previously testified that he did not feel Trump's comments were in fact obstruction.

          Your tirade about Trump's tax returns is old news. Trump won the election and Trump was under NO LEGAL OBLIGATION to submit his tax returns. Yeah. There is no law requiring it although Jimmy Carter was the first POTUS candidate to do so setting precedence. With respect to Trump's tax returns... the leaked page (which was illegal to leak) showed he paid more in taxes than any of the other candidates.

          So please drop the red herrings.

        3. DagD

          Re: Impeachment?

          failed to turn up anything actionable????

          How many classified documents do you have to "mis-handle" before it becomes actionable???

      5. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        Re: Impeachment?

        @ Eddy Ito: The president doesn't get to write get-out-of-jail free cards for the future. They can pardon someone once they have been convicted of a federal offence. Obama couldn't parson Hillary for something she has never been convicted of doing. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations pardons and commutation of sentences where pretty damn dodgy. Mind you, so where their use of private email for government business, but we know that's only bad when the blue team do it :D

        The simplified process is (as I understand it): potential crimes are investigated by bodies within the DoJ (FBI, state police etc); these are passed to the prosecutors (also part of the DoJ), who decide to go ahead or not; then there is a trial or plea (overseen by the judiciary).

        At no point is the executive directly involved. The only role of the executive in this process is nominating/appointing personnel, or altering the sentence at the end of it. Not by interfering with an investigation.

        " As the chief executive, if he says to drop the investigation then it gets dropped and sorry kids but there is nothing illegal about it."

        Seeing as how Trump and his lawyers are busy bending in half to deny that this is what happened, I strongly suspect that it is in fact illegal. This is why there is a lot of focus on the phrase "I hope you can see your way to letting this go" as to whether that was an illegal order, or a personal opinion.

        Not really sure why the GoP is fighting this. They'd be much happier with Pence in charge.

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Impeachment?

          @MonkeyCee

          The president doesn't get to write get-out-of-jail free cards for the future. They can pardon someone once they have been convicted of a federal offence. Obama couldn't parson Hillary for something she has never been convicted of doing.

          Absolutely incorrect.

          In the ruling on Ex Parte Garland, the Supreme Court stated:

          The power of pardon conferred by the Constitution upon the President is unlimited except in cases of impeachment. It extends to every offence known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment. The power is not subject to legislative control.

          A pardon reaches the punishment prescribed for an offence and the guilt of the offender. If granted before conviction, it prevents any of the penalties and disabilities consequent upon conviction from attaching; if granted after conviction, it removes the penalties and disabilities and restores him to all his civil rights. It gives him a new credit and capacity. There is only this limitation to its operation: it does not restore offices forfeited, or property of interests vested in others in consequence of the conviction and judgment.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Impeachment?

            More to the point, Ford pardoned Nixon[1] – before Nixon was convicted of anything. He hadn't even been impeached when he decided to resign. His resignation effectively ended the impeachment proceedings.

            I'm only aware of Obama saying that he would not grant a pardon for Snowden. Snowden would have to return to the U.S. to face trial and presumably be convicted before Obama would consider a pardon. (Perhaps we was trying to set a precedent?)

            [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pardon_of_Richard_Nixon (it's Wikipedia, so it must be true.)

          2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
            Boffin

            @eldakka Re: Impeachment?

            Exactly.

            Alan Dershowitz, a very liberal democrat and Harvard Prof on Law, also pointed this out.

            Trump can pardon anyone after the fact. Where the fact is the alleged crime even if there are no charges.

            Hypothetically, the POTUS can't hand someone a pardon for killing X before they killed X, but if X was killed and that someone was a suspect, the POTUS could pardon them even if they weren't yet under investigation... (Note: Bad example, but proves the point...)

            This is why you really don't have obstruction. Comey admitted that Trump didn't say go do X which would have forced Comey to do X, or resign because to not do X would be insubordination. Many don't understand the law, and those in Congress who do are willfully being ignorant for their own political gain.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: @eldakka Impeachment?

              This is why you really don't have obstruction. Comey admitted that Trump didn't say go do X which would have forced Comey to do X, or resign because to not do X would be insubordination. Many don't understand the law, and those in Congress who do are willfully being ignorant for their own political gain.

              Ian Michael Gumby,

              You've got the sequence of this wrong. Having a private dinner at short notice with the head of the FBI whose substantial content is about an ongoing investigation into your administration is almost certainly not grounds of any kind of criminal proceedings. It's stupid, probably immoral and was almost certainly aimed at interfering with a criminal investigation - but almost certainly not enough for normal court. Let alone the higher standard of an impeachable offense which needs Congress to fire the starting-gun.

              However, when you later fire that same guy, because he didn't do what you wanted (at least assuming we believe his account of the meeting), then suddenly that looks a lot closer to something like obstruction of justice.

              The fact that Trump then stupidly put into his letter firing Comey that he was pleased Comey had told him that he wasn't under investigation just makes him look even guiltier.

              And of course, Comey has some credibility when it comes to testimony, Trump doesn't. He's flat denied saying stuff that he said on TV a couple of days before.

              I still doubt this will meet the standard of evidence required to get Congress to take the extraordinary stop of launching an impreachment. But don't rule out that Trump will do something even more blatant and stupid in the future, or maybe he's even done it already and it just hasn't come to light yet.

              1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
                Boffin

                @Sparty ... Re: @eldakka Impeachment?

                Are you an American?

                The sequence isn't wrong.

                Comey isn't independent and is answerable to Trump.

                And of course you didn't listen to the questioning and the answers.

                Trump was never under investigation.

                There's more, but the subtlety is lost .

        2. Marshalltown

          Re: Impeachment?

          They have to put up a token resistence. Otherwise it would look far too deliberate. Trump is an obvious patsy when you get down to it. Chosen for self-centered egotism, arrogance, a total ignorance of Constitutional law, and a preference for secretive backroom deals (like these failed meetings where he tried twisting Comey's arm). This is guaranteed to get him into trouble not just with the blues but with a good many reds as well. I expect that as soon as the mid term election polls start showing up, the reds will start looking very seriously at where they stand, unless Trump shows a clear improvement in public opinion.

      6. Kurt Meyer

        Re: Impeachment?

        @ Eddy Ito

        "As the chief executive, if he says to drop the investigation then it gets dropped and sorry kids but there is nothing illegal about it."

        Your grasp of these issues rivals that of the Venus de Milo.

      7. Marshalltown

        Re: Impeachment?

        Not at all. Trump's "power" to execute the laws of the US as enacted by congress. He is also responsible for protecting and defending the people and Constitution of the US. That's why he's the chief "Executive." He isn't a a law enforcement officer and hasn't any legal say in what laws are inforced. Obama's action with respect to marijuana was political - recognizing a swell of popular support for legalization. That means that federal enforcement becomes more difficult since the states involved are going to be less than cooperative. In effect we are fighting a "cold Civil War" at this very moment and Obama's action was to ease things up between factions. It was certainly no better founded than Trumps attempt to protect Flynn, and get the DOJ to ease off on Russia.

        Flynn however was consulting - AS A FORMER DIA DIRECTOR - with foreign and not necessarily friendly powers. There's no state or popular tie there. The only question is whether he endangered US security. Trump's action in meeting privately with Comey were not only unprecedented - though not illegal - but by even expressing his "hopes" directly to Comey constitute outright misfeasance of office. Firing Comey after failing to gain his "hopes" was almost certainly malfeasance after having those conversations with him. He would have been better off to have never spoken with Comey and simply asked for his resignation. Obama in contrast acted OPENLY and publicly making an outright political call, and didn't fire anyone for disagreeing about the call. And you can bet that there are loads of DEA and ICE out there that were worried. Current US laws regarding property forfeiture in drug enforcement cases are a literal license to the agencies to commit piracy.

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: Impeachment?

          @Marshalltown

          Trump's "power" to execute the laws of the US as enacted by congress. He is also responsible for protecting and defending the people and Constitution of the US. That's why he's the chief "Executive." He isn't a a law enforcement officer and hasn't any legal say in what laws are inforced.[sic]

          Let's make this simple. In the U.S. there are three branches of government. The legislature makes the laws, the executive executes the laws, and the judiciary judges the law including whether it is legitimate or has been broken. Law enforcement falls under the execution part not the judging part. If the chief executive chooses to not enforce the law it doesn't get enforced. The only way the judicial branch can enforce anything is by asking federal marshals but of course that requires reaching a judgement as often happens after a court proceeding which has not happened. Please see Worcester v. Georgia when they did not and look up the Little Rock Nine for when the President, not the Supreme Court, used the 101st airborne to enforce the Court's ruling from Brown v. Board of Education.

          1. Marshalltown

            Re: Impeachment?

            Pay attention to you own arguments. The president as chief executive is responsible for running the government - yes. However, ALL law enforcement agencies of the US government are part of either Justice Department, or some other of the departments that comprise the executive branch. While he "might" have a leg to stand on concerning most Departments, interfering with the DOJ is to all public appearances also interfering with the courts and with due process, which doesn't simply apply to an accused, but also to the nation as a whole where the nation's interests may have been affected by the accused's actions. Trump to all appearances was attempting to prevent Flynn and the citizenry of the US from having their day in court. Presidential interference in ANY law enforcement investigation coul lead to a constitutional crisis. Go back and read the SC decision in favor of the Cherokee and then consider Jackon's inaction regarding enforcement of the court decision. I know Cherokee who, to this day, will not accept a twenty-dollar bill because Jackson's failure to enforce a court descision lead to the deaths of thousands. The presidential right to interfere is a "check" in the "checks and balances," but unless it is applied "judiciously" the "balances" of the courts and congress can turn on the president - impeachment for instance. So, a sane reading of the constitution tells you no president should interfere with the DOJ without very serious reasons having to do with national interest. It was quite plain from the start that there were no national interests being protected by going easy on Flynn.

            1. Grunchy

              Re: Impeachment?

              Okay, wait a minute.

              YOU are telling ME that, even though the President can have anybody pardoned for any crime at any time he wants,

              * he is not able to commit any crime he wants?

              * he cannot stop any investigation into any crime he wants?

              What the F man?

              This guy is Judge Dredd - He is the law!

              The only thing I'm surprised is he doesn't just repeal the constitution and put the country under Trump law. Cancel all elections, repeal democracy, and set himself up as King Trump and Kiss My Ass.

      8. DagD

        Re: Impeachment?

        spot on Eddy...

        besides...

        Good luck getting 2/3 of the majority vote, democrats...

    3. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Impeachment?

      Not anywhere near unfortunately. It will take more for that.

    4. SundogUK

      Re: Impeachment?

      No.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Impeachment?

      is lying to the FBI a crime, and if so does it count as high crime & misdemeanors? Not saying he did. but others seemed to have done do, so wondering.....

      1. Marshalltown

        Re: Impeachment?

        Lying to a law enforcement officer or investigator during an investigation is a felony, obstruction of justice among other things.

    6. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Impeachment?

      No.

      Here's the problem.

      Under the law, if Trump wanted to shut down the investigation to Flynn, he would merely just issue a pardon to Flynn. He can do this any time after the alleged act occurs, even if there are no charges present.

      That would put an end to the issue, however it would cause more fodder.

      Under the law...

      If Comey believed that Trump's conversation was an attempt at Obstruction, he would have been obligated to report it ASAP. He did not. By waiting... Comey violated the law. Were he to now claim it was obstruction, Comey could face criminal charges.

      In the past, under oath, Comey told Congress that he did not feel that there was any obstruction on the part of Trump. So... if Comey said anything different, he would be in trouble for lying under oath. It would result in a perjury charge and then Comey would have to defend himself.

      So Comey was already boxed in to a corner before his testimony.

      Beyond that...

      In order to impeach Trump, you would have to show intent.

      There is more evidence to say Obama committed obstruction when it came to Clinton's email investigation. And also Lynch.

      So only a rabid Democrat would call for impeachment while others in the Democratic Party will not yet call for more investigation in to this...

  4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    What kind of spy

    Is invited to a meeting in the Whitehouse and doesn't wear a wire?

    I record meetings with my own company's HR dept.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: What kind of spy

      I record meetings with my own company's HR dept.

      You ALWAYS record meetings with Catbert. That is different from recording meetings with the pointy haired one.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: What kind of spy

      I don't know... Trump could tape the conversation.

      But is DC a two party consent state? (DC isn't a state, but has its own laws...)

      1. Tcat

        Re: What kind of spy

        As best I understand, you are referring to WIRE tap law. Fed (Title law) allows Wire Tap to be permitted with one party consent. Revised Code of Washington (RCW) requires 2 party consent. NOTE: Wire ... I can record (and do) nose to nose chats to Cover My Ass (ets).

    3. DougS Silver badge

      He's not a spy

      The FBI is America's police, the CIA is its spies.

  5. Simon Ward

    I'll happily admit that I'm not au fait with 'Merkin politics, but damn it all I'd never want to play cards with Comey - that guy has an epic poker face.

  6. kschrock

    Comey: Weird, but it doesn't matter.

    Weird first. I was a liberal for 31 years and have been a conservative for 37 years. When Dianne Feinstein, the most liberal Democrat in the US Senate (who strangely has a scary relationship with the spy guys) gave Comey the best bitch slap of the day, I wanted to get up and give her a high five. That impulse made me feel sick, and I had to go take a nap.

    The bottom line is that Comey is a normal public servant, an ass kisser, a back stabber, and a coward. When Lynch said something that made him "uncomfortable", he didn't refuse, contradict her, ask for clarification of what she meant, or how she came to her conclusion. He just smiled and nodded his head. He then went behind her back and screwed her. Exact same thing with Trump.

    He is just one frog in the swamp.

    None of this will make any difference to anything important now, or 10 years from now. If you liked Trump you will still like him. If you hated Trump you will still hate him. It's da show. You're fired.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Comey: Weird, but it doesn't matter.

      My politics developed just in the opposite manner of yours, but I agree with your conclusion. I expect nothing to come of all this except to make America look (more) ridiculous to the rest of the world.

      I think many of the issues raised by or because of Trump should highlight that America cannot be guaranteed to help out allies and that the Asian Pacific Rim countries and Europe should increase their military spending but on American gear.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        @AC ... Re: Comey: Weird, but it doesn't matter.

        Have you looked at other countries and their politics? ;-)

        South Korea? and then in South America?

        I would hope that the US would be better, but unfortunately there's politicians who put partisan politics before what is best for this country.

        Trump would be a better president than Obama if given half the chance to get things done. Of course someone would have to take away his twitter account too, but you get the idea. The thought of Trump actually doing a good job scares the Democrats so much that they would rather attack Trump than fix the DNC.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: @AC ... Comey: Weird, but it doesn't matter.

          His appearance was never going to provide the 'smoking gun' that changes things for either side. If there was something like that, it would have been leaked already.

          But the investigation into Trump is constantly gathering steam, and now includes a group of financial analysts who investigate stuff like money laundering. They're going to be digging into Trump's overseas business affairs that he has gone to such great lengths to conceal and deflect. That's the sort of where smoking guns are found for a crooked businessman like Trump.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Comey: Weird, but it doesn't matter.

        "I expect nothing to come of all this except to make America look (more) ridiculous to the rest of the world."

        It's always comforting to know that there's someone worse off than oneself. America, we thank you.

  7. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Meh

    Meh

    today's soap opera, tomorrow's forgotten "fake news" drama.

    nothing will come of it. might as well ignore it all, get on with life.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Meh

      You hope, but it ain't gonna happen.

  8. Kiwi Silver badge

    Two things..

    We have Trump and his lawyers saying he's innocent, and it's the other guy who is to blame, and then we have this "

    James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!

    I was bullied often at school. I remember more than one telling me I'd "better hope no one finds out" about their actions. Trump's tweet reminds me very much of that, in tone and wording.

    But if it's the other side, if it is Trump who has the recordings, then why not release them? He's clearly not one for keeping quiet about anything he thinks might make him look good or might sound "heroic", no matter how much it actually backfires. That he hasn't released anything suggests strongly to me that Trump is afraid Comey has the recordings, and Trump is trying to use threats/intimidation to keep Comey from releasing them.

    If there are recordings that Comey has, then either they back up Trumps claims, back up Comey's claims, or suggest some middle ground where they each interpreted the other's wording/intention wrongly. If there were to show Trump is innocent then he has nothing to fear and everything to gain by their release (even if to an appropriate investigator who can release the relevant bits to the public while protecting anything that should be classified). If, on the other hand, Trump is worried about their content, then given his past form we can expect denials that attempt to point blame to the other person, threats, oddball tweets at odd hours (modern day version of someone screaming out stuff hysterically), threats of legal action and attempts to have Comey arrested or worse. Trumps actions remind me very much of a bully or other type of abusive person when someone is standing up to them and/or threatening to bring their hidden acts into public. He comes across to me as a man who thought he had power over someone, found out that he doesn't scare that person, and now fears he is about to be shown for who he truly is and "brought to justice" for his crimes. Like the child-beater who points the finger at the kids and blames their behaviour when the cops come knocking.

    I've had people record conversations, and I've recorded a few myself. Those who know they have nothing to hide happily accept and often even welcome the recording (others feel uneasy buy accept), but those who have something to hide will attempt to stop the recording being done, even to the point of legal threats (if you're recording a conversation openly (other than in a court room and maybe one or two other places) you're perfectly legally OK in NZ and have every right to).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Two things..

      if you're recording a conversation openly (other than in a court room and maybe one or two other places) you're perfectly legally OK in NZ and have every right to

      Consensual recordings are never an issue, but the UK has an interesting take on covert recording in that it is not explicitly illegal. However, you're not allowed to use those recordings in any legal process, and I think it's not legal to share them either. As a matter of fact, from what I recall (it's a while ago that I looked at this) you're not even allowed to correct your meeting notes retrospectively using covert recordings, they would be considered "tainted" from that point onwards and would become inadmissible too.

      I'd still do it, though, if I didn't trust the situation.

      1. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: Two things..

        Consensual recordings are never an issue, but the UK has an interesting take on covert recording in that it is not explicitly illegal. However, you're not allowed to use those recordings in any legal process, and I think it's not legal to share them either.

        I'm note sure on where covert recordings sit in NZ laws. I think these days covert recordings can be admissible but it's better you do it in the open. I do think the courts realise that some people, knowing they're being recorded, would alter their behaviour and wait till a time when they thought they weren't "on the record". Certainly, the owner or occupier of a private address (which includes homes and businesses) has the right to exclude any such thing or any person who insists on trying to record when asked not to, but in the offices of government departments and I suspect in workplace meetings (eg disciplinary) you have a right to record the interview.

        Course, IANAL and the above is just my barely-informed opinion based on personal experience, don't quote me, don't call we'll call you, yadda yadda yadda...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Two things..

          but it's better you do it in the open.

          In my personal opinion it's always better to do it in the open, also because any objections to it will be a signal that you may be heading for something dodgy..

          1. Kiwi Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Two things..

            In my personal opinion it's always better to do it in the open, also because any objections to it will be a signal that you may be heading for something dodgy..

            The vast majority of times I absolutely agree, but there are times when someone's behaviour might be different if they know they're being recorded, and there is a desire to catch them out. We had a case here in NZ some years back where IIRC a cop was being nasty to younger drivers, verbally abusing them and so on even when they'd not done anything wrong. Complaints led to denials, but someone eventually recorded the officer. Queue lots of moans about how unfair it was for the cop to be secretly recorded, but the behaviour was out in the open and could no longer be hidden.

            But I agree that normal practice should be to record openly, and if there is an objection you know you've got to stick to your guns and record. Check the laws in your jurisdiction of course, don't take the word of some random Kiwi nutter on the Internet!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      @Kiwi Re: Two things..

      Does Trump have the tapes?

      This could be a bluff. If its a bluff then its only as effective as long as you don't know the answer to the question.

      If this isn't a bluff and Trump's staff admits to there being tapes... then you have a real problem for Trump. Those tapes could be subpoenaed. This is what caught Nixon and forced him to resign.

      It also begs the question... if there are tapes, then what else did Trump record? And again those recordings would be subpoenaed as well.

      Its a bad bluff on the part of Trump.

      But the real question... did Comey lie under oath because he claimed Trump's tweet is what forced him to leak (which is itself a crime) or is Trump's lawyer right that Comey leaked before Trump's tweet.

      That would be a very easy thing to prove.

      1. Peter2 Silver badge

        Re: @Kiwi Two things..

        Consensual recordings are never an issue, but the UK has an interesting take on covert recording in that it is not explicitly illegal. However, you're not allowed to use those recordings in any legal process, and I think it's not legal to share them either

        Not really. Admissibility depends on a lot of things, and quite honestly evidence is evidence and likely to be admissible by a court if directly relevant.

        The situation is more:-

        USA: You can prove your innocent, but the material is inadmissible in court so your found guilty.

        UK: You can prove your innocent, the material is illegal but admissible in court so your found not guilty, but then get sued separately by the loser for a breach of the data protection act etc.

        That said, if you had a recording but waited for the date of the court trial to produce it then you'd probably find it was found inadmissible, but that's only a problem when it's sprung on the opposition at the last moment as it can prejudice their right to a fair trial as they didn't know about that evidence so they could amend their story appropriately. (Lying under oath is obviously fair and accepted if they didn't know you could prove that they were lying beforehand, and that's fair)

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: @Kiwi Two things..

        "If its a bluff then its only as effective as long as you don't know the answer to the question."

        It's also only effective if Comey knows his account is different to what actually happened. Give or take the vagaries of personal recollection there are only two people who know what happened and Comey is one of them. If what he said is what he recollects and he's satisfied his recollection is sound then he's not going to be bluffed. If he recounted what happened then why should he worry about tapes unless they're doctored?

      3. Kiwi Silver badge

        Re: @Kiwi Two things..

        But the real question... did Comey lie under oath because he claimed Trump's tweet is what forced him to leak (which is itself a crime) or is Trump's lawyer right that Comey leaked before Trump's tweet.

        Comey may've lied under oath. He's human, so that makes him a liar by default though there are some of us who really do make an effort to not lie. He was also in politics, and was in a place of high trust where he would have to keep secrets and sometimes could have to lie as a part of his job.

        He may've lied under oath, he may've committed other criminal acts. But that would never excuse criminal acts on the part of someone else, especially if done as POTUS or any other political leader.

        The real question is did Trump commit another crime, and how long till he is brought up on charges for what appears to be criminal activity. And then if he is cleared at that trial, he can be tried again. And again. And again. And again. Fair enough for Hillarity to be tried/investigated 10 times for the same crime, fair enough for chump.

        But that would never excuse any illegal behaviour on

    4. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Two things..

      But if it's the other side, if it is Trump who has the recordings, then why not release them? He's clearly not one for keeping quiet about anything he thinks might make him look good or might sound "heroic", no matter how much it actually backfires.

      Dougal: Actually, Ted, you've done this to me before, so I took the liberty of taping the conversation

      Now, we'll just have a listen...

      (starts tape) "..."

      Dougal: I stand corrected

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPCH4rZU-3Q

  9. Palpy

    The nub of the biscuit.

    Comey: "It’s not about Republicans or Democrats. They’re [Putin's government] coming after America, which I hope we all love equally. They want to undermine our credibility in the face of the world. They think that this great experiment of ours is a threat to them, and so they’re going to try to run it down and dirty it up as much as possible.”

    As I recall, all of the US intelligence agencies agree that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. The CIA, the FBI, the NSA: all agreed that it happened.

    And there are too many unexplained links between Trump associates and Russia.

    Why did Jared Kushner meet with the head of the Putin-controlled Vnesheconombank in December, 2016? The banker he spoke with is a graduate of the FSB spy agency (FSB is the successor to the KGB). Why did Kushner ask to establish a clandestine back-channel communication link using the Russian comm apparatus, which would shield it from CIA or NSA monitoring? What did the Trump team want to hide from US intelligence services?

    Mr. Trump's sons have, in the past, indicated that The Trump Organization receives funding from Russia. Mr. Trump's lawyers have stated that his tax returns do not show debt or income from Russia, but in the financial world it's understood that such US - Russia transactions take place using shell companies in Cyprus, the Netherlands, or the British Virgin Islands as intermediate entities. Is this why Mr. Trump reneged on his promise to release his tax returns if he was elected: the returns would show that, through shell companies, he is deeply in debt to Putin-controlled financial entities?

    Recall that when US banks would not loan to The Trump Organization (TTO) because it had a "toxic" record of bankruptcies, TTO went to Deutschbank for $640 million -- and then, in 2008, defaulted on a $40 million installment on the loan. After being taken to court, and then counter-suing, an undisclosed settlement was reached. But of course, Western financial institutions are now understandably wary of loaning the price of bus fare to the Trump Organization. And so TTO probably does have to go to Putin for financing.

    And so via this winding road we come to a probable crux: The President of the USA, after an election influenced by Russian dirty tricks, is quite likely tied financially to the Russian banking system controlled by Vladimir Putin.

    If you've read this far, I salute you! Truly, your eyeballs are the stuff of legend.

    But this is why the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings, and even more so the FBI investigation of Mr. Trump's associates, are important: it is possible, even probable, that the sitting US President has been compromised by foreign powers inimical to US interests.

    If you are a citizen of the USA, it should not matter if you are Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative. If you give a sh*t about American democracy, you should demand to see the matter of the Trump administration's Russian interests resolved.

    If there is nothing there, fine. If there is collusion, or treasonous cooperation, then prosecute. It should not depend on partisanship. It should depend on citizenship.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: The nub of the biscuit.

      "As I recall, all of the US intelligence agencies agree that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. The CIA, the FBI, the NSA: all agreed that it happened."
      Well that's grounds for suspicion right there. "Everyone" agreed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass "distraction"... For some reason this reminds me of old Russian saying: "I read it in Pravda so I know it's not true."

      1. uncle sjohie

        Re: The nub of the biscuit.

        Technically he did, the long standing foreign policy of the US, is that chemical weapons are weapons of mass destruction, and are threfore comparable with bioloigcal or nuclear weapons. And they did find chemical weapons in Irak. :-) Not much, probably unusable leftovers of the Iran-Irak war, but they did find them..

      2. Robert 22

        Re: The nub of the biscuit.

        Not a valid comparison. The US intelligence agencies were under extreme political pressure from the top levels of the US government to find "evidence" of Iraqi WMDs. Furthermore, military leaders, such as General Shinseki, who raised awkward questions were forced out or marginalized.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: The nub of the biscuit.

          It didn't take pressure on the intelligence agencies to get them to report that Iraq had a chemical weapons capability. Iraq had repeatedly used chemical weapons throughout the 80s, that they had developed themselves with a massive indigenous program on an industrial scale. Iraq had chemical weapons on the front lines in the war in 1990/91. The UN had destroyed abut 2/3rds of the Iraqi stocks during the 1990s. Iraq spent the whole of the 90s denying that there were any more, until the UN inspectors found the next batch, then they'd admit to that batch and just a little more, which would be destroyed only for the whole process to start again.

          What Iraq didn't seem to get is that a couple of British inspectors had seen a bunch of the ministry of supply's purchase records in 91, when they got to Baghdad. However they were held hostage in the ministry carpark until they gave those records back. What Iraq didn't seem to notice is that they held out for 2 days in that car, and had a copier or a satellite fax in the boot.

          So the UN weapons inspectors reports from the 90s show what they actually destroyed against what chemical supplies Iraq had bought, and calculated the difference to be what Iraq had left.

          Plus, Iraq still had the scientists who did all the work. So whatever they did with those remaining weapons, re-building the program (given their vast oil wealth) was easy, once the sanctions came off.

          They were also under UN Security Council sanctions until they gave up their long range missile program, which they never did.

          So basically what you got was groupthink. Everyone just assumed they had chemical weapons. Whether they'd completely got rid of the program or not. Though it was much less clear whether they still had the program, or actual usable weapons. It didn't help that they weren't cooperating with the weapons inspectors, even though Hans Blix said that he didn't think they had cheical weapons.

          Of course Hans Blix had a slight credibility problem. In that he was just about to sign-off on the report saying Iraq didn't have a nuclear weapons program, when he was head of the IAEA in the mid-90s. Then the CIA found it, and the IAEA had to do a quick u-turn and wander back to Iraq to supervise its destruction.

        2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          @Robert 22 Re: The nub of the biscuit.

          Mate, you're got a bit of a revisionist history...

          Bush got the intel from the CIA who's source was actual Iranian.

          Bush then took it to Congress which then declared war on Iraq.

          Now... the funny part.

          Shortly before Saddam was to be hanged, he admitted that he was the source of the WMD information. He spread the news in an effort to keep Iran at bay. (You do remember the Iran/Iraq war, right?) He was surprised that the US fell for it.

          There's more, but you get the idea.

          Did the US really fall for it, or did they just use it as a pretext (excuse) to take Saddam out?

          You'll never know and neither will I.

    2. Palpy
      Coat

      Re: The nub of the biscuit. No. The CRUX!

      Fludge. The Zappa line is "The CRUX of the biscuit is the apostrophe."

      Now the entire chain of reasoning I proposed has been crucially compromised by a misquote. I must to a nunnery go. I hope the nuns are forgiving, and comely. Adieu!

    3. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: The nub of the biscuit.

      Excellent summary. Thank you.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was that the truth?

    Or was it just Donald sprouting off again?

  11. Peter 39

    "Leaker"? No !

    "Comey admitted he became a leaker – giving his notes to a friend to pass to journalists"

    This is NOT a leak. Comey was a party to the conversation and is entitled to report it however he wants (excluding obvious exception such as classified info, or legal advice, etc that don't apply here).

    If it had been someone else's conversation that he'd heard then that would be a leak. But if it's his own then he owns it (jointly with Trump, I guess) and he's free to report it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Leaker"? No !

      I wish it was that simple. Maybe it is OK from a legal perspective, but I personally would not like to retain someone who publishes the content of private conversations with the head of government. However much I like Comey and loath the orange fool, this is probably the one thing I'm dubious about.

      1. DanceMan
        Mushroom

        Re: "Leaker"? No !

        "someone who publishes the content of private conversations"

        But it's okay if you tweet it?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Leaker"? No !

        I had similar doubts, but those went away when I realized that Comey only revealed his notes once the Commander-in-Cheeto started waving nonexistent recordings about to throw shade at him. When the maximum leader is doing Bad Stuff, none of his underlings can be trusted, and the ruling party in Congress would excuse literally any crime he might commit, where else do you turn than applying pressure through the press? Especially when it's *your* FBI he's defaming?

        My considered take on Comey is that he's an honest cop, tells the truth, cares about the reputation of his (now former) organization, and doesn't have a political axe to grind -- and is indeed painfully lacking in any political sense whatsoever (aside from the bureaucratic infighting skills any manager has in order to survive, viz. making contemporaneous written records of 1-on-1 meetings with a lying slimeball).

        The FBI is supposed to be non-political; I think Comey is in fact non-political in his approach, and indeed politically naive; the mishandled disclosures to Congress about the Clinton investigation seem to me, on reflection, to be less of a political maneuver than a guy trying to be a truth-telling white knight -- which turned out not to be such a great idea in the middle of a political knife fight.

        I'm still really unhappy about his election-skewing disclosures, but I do think he is fundamentally being truthful and honest here.

        If you have to ask why this is anon, ...

    2. Shannon Jacobs

      Re: "Leaker"? No !

      No, that wouldn't be a leak, but it would be hearsay. To be a leak it would have to be some information that was properly classified as secret so that the disclosure of the information would be harmful to the nation's best interests.

      Contrary to #PresidentTweety's opinion, his personal interests are NOT identical to the nation's best interests. In this case the Donald's best interests appear to be diametrically opposed to the nation's best interests.

      If there is no legitimate basis for secrecy, and we already know that by the lengths Trump went to to try to keep other witnesses away, then there is no basis to call it a leak. That word is just the propagandists trying to spin their best Level 3 lies. (Though Trump himself is an extremely unskilled liar and can rarely get above Levels 0 and 1, he has money to hire some of the best professional liars. (However the money is mostly laundry fees for Putin's dirty money.))

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: "Leaker"? No !

      That's a bit like the distinction from Yes Prime Minister:

      Leak is an irregular verb.

      I give confidential press conferences,

      You leak

      He has been charged under section 3a of the Official Secrets Act

      Anyway in normal political-speak to leak is to put out an unauthorised communication to the press. Most specifically when it involes documents or accounts of conversations with several parties. So if an account of a conversation involving an appointee and the President comes out that's definitely a leak.

      I rather doubt that "leak" is a legal term - and so I'd be surprised if it has a technical description. It's obviously not a crime to leak non-classified information though, but could still be grounds for dismissal.

      Not that I'm any supporter of trumpety-wumpety. Or whatever bollocks legal statements he puts out. It's never a good sign in politics when you have to get your lawyer to attempt to rebut a story...

    4. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      @Peter 39 Re: "Leaker"? No !

      Actually it is a leak.

      Those notes are official documents and under the law (Official Records Act) while not classified documents, it is a criminal act to leak them. They are work products.

      At the same time, there's the issue of executive privilege. Only Trump would be able to release the notes.

      Comey's actions are criminal, although I doubt that they would charge him with any crime.

      You are mistaken that it has to be classified material for it to be criminal. It does not.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @Peter 39 "Leaker"? No !

        I had similar doubts, but those went away when I realized that Comey only revealed his notes once the Commander-in-Cheeto started waving nonexistent recordings about

        British so I don't follow the US news. But the news pointed out that he testified that he made leaks about things on the basis of responding to tweets, yet the timestamps on the tweets he was supposedly leaking in response to were after the newspaper articles were published.

        So in short he demonstrably lied under oath there, which makes me wonder what else he lied about and exactly what has been leaked to the press by him.

        Frankly, my view is that your perfectly entitled to think your boss is a knob and your perfectly entitled to discuss this with colleagues and friends. But deliberately providing information about my boss to the media via intermediaries goes over the line, and I'd expect to be fired for doing this in a private business. I'm not quite sure why the same wouldn't apply in public office.

  12. Quinch

    Half full of it and half empty-headed

    So, on one hand we have the director of FBI versus the President of the USA.

    This is less of a matter of whom to side with and more along the lines of which of these two buttclowns to disbelieve more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Half full of it and half empty-headed

      That's is factually correct, which is where track record comes in play.

      Do you trust someone who has served many years in the same capacity and seems to have done by all accounts a remarkable job in the political nest of vipers called Washington (not perfect, but well), or do you believe an orange fool that labels science and facts "fake" and has not been able to offer a single fact from even before taking office that didn't turn out to be a lie, and who has such a bad history of breaking deals and not paying people that he had to get in bed with embargoed banks to finance his real estate business, a business that may emerge as being built on money laundering?

      Yeah, tough call. Really hard choice.

  13. FozzyBear Silver badge
    Megaphone

    Doesn't matter what happens or what is/was said.

    The truth of the matter has long since been buried and forgotten. All we are seeing here is politics given the stage once again so that they can score meaningless political points against each other.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      They may not be meaningless political points.

      My personal suspicion is that Trump won't turn out to have any direct financial links to Putin. It seems to me that he's too loose-lipped, incompetent and lacks the attention span to carry out a proper conspiracy.

      And he's probably only pro-Putin in the sense that he's ignorant of global affairs, it gets him points with some voters with more extreme points of view who seem to favour Putin (on both left and right), and it's a way of thumbing his nose at the establishment.

      This seems to be further confirmed to me by the complete lack of any progress at all in relations with Russia. Trump is too unstable a partner.

      I'm sure lots of him campaign team have dodgy links in various places, because the people without a shady past wouldn't work for him. And everyone remotely senior in Washington circles will have met the Russian ambassador.

      So my feeling is that the most likely explanation is cock-up rather than conspiracy. And that Russia were working against Clinton, so had congruent interests with Trump.

      However it's vitally important that this be investigated. Because the type of people who successfully pull-off conspiracies (genuine ones being quite rare) are the type of people who currently run Russia. Ex-KGB / FSB officers. So it might be true.

      Trump is totally untrustworthy, so you can't just ask him. Not that he might not get himself into some other scandal first. He is, after all, on tape admitting to sex-crimes.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        @ Sparty...

        Wow, shiny gold badge... :-)

        Ok,

        The reality is that there are more ties between Clinton and the Russian government that Trump.

        Recently... literally last week I think... there was yet another batch of emails released due to the JW (Judicial Watch) FOIA lawsuit. The major take away was that Clinton didn't want to fly on the same jet as the First Lady Obama. (You can google that ...)

        In that same batch... there are a couple of emails that tie Clinton as SoS and the Foundation. One thread ties the threat of an IRS audit in order to stop the investigation by a country in to a CF donor. (You can google it.) In another, there's confirmation that a Russian Investment Group, again CF donors got 'hooked up' with the right people in the US Government (State Dept. )

        The Russians wanted to have chaos... and personally, none of the world leaders wanted to deal with Hildabeast and prefered Trump to her. ;-)

        1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: @ Sparty... @Gumby

          "The major take away was that Clinton didn't want to fly on the same jet as the First Lady Obama."

          THAT's the major takeaway? Whooooeeeee, wot a scorcher.

        2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: @ Sparty...

          "[N]one of the world leaders wanted to deal with Hildabeast and prefered Trump to her"

          Nope, nope, nopity nope.

        3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: @ Sparty...

          Ian Michael Gumby,

          What point are you trying to make? That Hilary Clinton was soft on Russia because of... Something non-specific from emails that we get through the source of possible Russian hackers via Julian Assange? Some specifics would be nice.

          We already have Clinton's policy record on Russia. She wasn't soft on the Russian regime, they hated her (hence attempting to help Trump to beat her) and this is all public knowledge.

          Trump was the one saying nice things about Putin, hence the allegations that he might have ulterior motives to do so.

          You need to come up with clear points, or it just looks like you're throwing round shit in an attempt to distract from Trump's obvious wrong-doing. Bog-standard irrelevant whattaboutery.

          Not that I'm accusing him of having taken Russian bribes. I think his support for Putin was shallow, and was about differentiating himself from Clinton, as well as his general ignorance, stupidity and lack of foresight.

          But sacking Comey in order to try and stop his administration getting investigated is wrongdoing. It might not be bad enough to be criminal, but it's still the wrong thing to do. Trying to get political influence and "loyalty" from the head of the FBI is wrong. It's not how the system is supposed to work. Various US Presidents have done things like this, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon all used the IRS to investigate political opponents for example. But those actions are all wrongdoing.

        4. Marshalltown

          Re: @ Sparty...

          "...(You can google it.)..."

          Ah, but if you do, will you find it? Clinton and Obama actively supported an independent Ukraine - which is not Russia. Some of Trump's campaign staff were actively supporting pro-Russian politicos inside the Ukraine during an election. Meddling with the internal affairs of another government, which was marginally acceptable as long as they don't receive favors from their clients in return, when they turn to US politics. World leaders preferred Trump to Clinton because Trump is just what we see, a political idiot who can't keep his fingers away from the twit pad or his mouth shut.

  14. Potemkine Silver badge

    Lies, damned lies and Trumpy's declarations

    I pity the majority of US people who are decent people and did not vote for the clown now in charge of their country. In a few months Trumpy succeeded to make the US small and isolated, we can only fear what will happen next.

    This should be a wake-up call to update the US voting system, to ensure the President be elected by the majority of voters, something that should be the basics in a democracy.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Lies, damned lies and Trumpy's declarations

      No. The US system was specifically designed not to allow pure majorities to elect the President.

      Otherwise huge states like California, New York, Florida and Texas would get to run the country. As they've got more than half the population between them.

      It's the same reason that the US has a Senate with equal representation from each state, even though some are much tinier than others.

      It's still perfectly democratic to have checks-and-balances within a system to stop larger constituent units of a federation from totally dominating its political life.

      I'm no fan of Trump, but him winning is a fault of the voters and the other politicians for being so shit. Not a fault of the system.

      The US Constitutional system has lasted for a long time, compared to almost any other country's political system. So they must have got a few things right when they wrote it. Even if it's obviously not perfect.

      1. Potemkine Silver badge

        Re: Lies, damned lies and Trumpy's declarations

        And you end in a situation where some people are more equals than others. What is the justification to the fact that if you live somewhere your vote does not have the same weight as if you live somewhere else? Why would geography have an impact on your vote? "On Man/One Woman, One vote" is democratic, "On Man/One Woman, 0.6 to 1.4 votes according where you vote" isn't.

        For the Senate it's something different, because there is the Congress to represent the People (theoretically) when the Senate represents the States; and a counterbalance can be understood for the legislative branch. But we are talking about the President, who has no other executive equivalent.

        The US system was specifically designed not to allow pure majorities to elect the President.

        I agree, it was designed so the most conservative part of the country is overrepresented: it's stability by conservatism

        The US Constitutional system has lasted for a long time, compared to almost any other country's political system

        Absolute Monarchy lasted millenniums in Egypt, does that make it a better system?

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: Lies, damned lies and Trumpy's declarations

          And you end in a situation where some people are more equals than others. What is the justification to the fact that if you live somewhere your vote does not have the same weight as if you live somewhere else?

          Some countries have constituencies. This is not a difficult to understand or unusual system. And most federal systems have mechanisms to balance the power of more populous/powerful states.

          I agree, it was designed so the most conservative part of the country is overrepresented: it's stability by conservatism

          How would the writers of the US Consitution have been able to predict which states/areas would be more conservative than others 250 years into the future? Especially as they only represented 13 colonies/states, not the 50 that the USA has now?

          The system was designed to limit the powers of the federal government as against those of the states who joined together to form it. As well as to have counter-balances to those states with larger populations.

          Ancient Egypt was not a democracy, nor operating in the modern era. Nor particularly stable when it came to changes of rulers / dynasties.

          The US has managed to keep, while gradually evolving, the same constitution for 250 years. In a modern, much faster moving, era. Very few other countries have managed that level of stability.

          Even if you discount the French revolutionary and Napoleonic periods (when they got through about 7 different constitutions in 20 years), France has had two different constitutional monarchies, one empire and 4 republican constitutions since 1815. So that's 6 goes at it in only 200 years.

          It's hard to create a stable constitutional settlement - and there's no such thing as a perfect one.

      2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Boffin

        @Sparty Re: Lies, damned lies and Trumpy's declarations

        I'm no fan of Trump, but him winning is a fault of the voters and the other politicians for being so shit. Not a fault of the system.

        Well I'm not a fan of Trump either and you can blame two things...

        1) The DNC party rigged the nomination to be Hillary who was un-electable.

        2) The MSM who gushed over Trump and gave him free air time ignoring other candidates.

        To Trump's credit... he understood the voters and what they wanted. At least give him credit for attempting to fulfill his campaign promises.

        But its also important to note that if it came down to a popular vote, we would end up with a system found in the Hunger Games.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Lies, damned lies and Trumpy's declarations

        "The US Constitutional system has lasted for a long time"

        What are you studying?

        American history.

        I see. And what do you do in the afternoons?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Trump, your magic word of the day is "YET"

    I find it remarkable that Trump's I-sold-my-soul-for-money lawyer, like Trump's surrogates, is trying to place so much weight on Comey's statement that "the President was not under investigation".

    It is very clear from the narrative that the investigations are still ongoing, and given the rather bumpy looks of all the carpets in Trump Enterprise I think there is every chance that that still may happen - hence their aggressive pushing of that message now they still can in the hope that it sticks when things change.

    The problem with that amount of publicity is that it creates a duty to correct when that changes, and I don't think that just labelling it "false news" at that point will allow it to be buried - that may even fox (sorry) Fox & orange Friends..

  16. Adam 1 Silver badge

    > "Although Mr Comey testified he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the New York Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet"

    Setting aside the interesting interpretation of today's events by one lawyer for a moment, is there any truth in that statement?

    1. Kiwi Silver badge

      Setting aside the interesting interpretation of today's events by one lawyer for a moment, is there any truth in that statement?

      According to The Washington Post, the article in the NYT is here.

      A quick glance, and commentary elsewhere, suggests that Comey commented to "associates" about the loyalty dinner around the time of his sacking, and they passed that on to the NYT - no mention of the memos (at least in a quick scan of the NYT article, if you wish to read further you have the links or the google :) )

      But tbh.. A lawyer telling the truth? A US lawyer telling the truth? Trumps US lawyer telling the truth? :) Oh, and I'd suggest the lack of defensive posts from BB, BJ etc might indicate they know full well it's true, and their beloved prez isn't so beloved anymore...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    WE VOTEC FUR TRAMP NOT PONSE

    The AMERICAN PEEPLE fairly and. JUSTLY voted fri TRUMP, not PENCE not VLINTON and not no one eLse. TRUMP. And lady METAMATIC. Nakkid <<me not her}}} Who would trust anything the FBI SAYS WHEN CUNNY has spend BILLIONS spying on AMERICAN CITIZENS AND PEOPLE with computers whilst LETTING TERRIESTS wrk k HAVOC in THE US and UK. KID creole put it best, he is. A POKESMAN FOR THE POEOLE in his HARD-ass song stool pigeon::

    So the FBI they rewarded him

    Because they like a guy who will stab a friend

    I PASTED THAT IN FROM GUGGLE; Tammy-jo at theBAR showed me how {{and moar))))

    Ha chad chad CHA!

    ANY way I look forward to tha UK DOIN TGE RIGHT THING and giving MAY A stormy MAJORITY Todat. That will show CORBELS THAT BEIN A VOMMIE don't sit TOO WELL ROIND THESE PARTZ.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WE VOTEC FUR TRAMP NOT PONSE

      Not a bad effort at trolling. Lots of caps, unclosed brackets to annoy the programmers and lots of spelling mistakes - but they're also a giveaway in that they're overdone and thus feel too artificial to be believable.

      I'd give it 6.5 out of 10, which is a marked improvement on other attempts I've seen.

      Well done, this shows promise.

      1. Androgynous Cow Herd

        Re: WE VOTEC FUR TRAMP NOT PONSE

        6/10

        Bonus points for lack of profanity

        Minus points for heavy handed presentation and too much coherancy

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "Minus points for..too much coherancy"

          Yes that's a dead givaway.

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: WE VOTEC FUR TRAMP NOT PONSE

      Yes, agree: too good to be true. It's like a graphic artist pretending to pencil in a child's artless lettering - it always looks a little fake.

      Anyone able to navigate to El Reg can't be the drooling idiot portrayed here.

      1. Sanguma

        Re: WE VOTEC FUR TRAMP NOT PONSE

        s/TRAMP/FRUMP/g

        s/TRUMP/FRUMP/g

        corrected it for you. No charge.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: WE VOTEC FUR TRAMP NOT PONSE

        Anyone able to navigate to El Reg can't be the drooling idiot portrayed here.

        You really, really sure about that? It's not exactly rocket science/brain surgery/securing networks properly[1]..

        [1] Delete according to your preferences.

    3. Sanguma

      Re: WE VOTEC FUR TRAMP NOT PONSE

      s/TERRIESTS/TERRIERS

      There. Corrected it for you. No charge. Aren't I a nice guy!?!

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: WE VOTEC FUR TRAMP NOT PONSE

        s/TERRIESTS/TERRIERS

        Oi! Although I usually represent the Coalition of Chaotic Cats, today I'm working for the Territorial Terrier Tribe and wish to express their displeasure.

        Expect your house to shortly and mysteriously smell of dog wee.

  18. The Dark Side
    Holmes

    Liar, Liar Your Pants on Fire

    Everything he said will come back and bite him in the arse. Read the article at the link below no one settles law suits after your denial it was you.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/donald-trump-scandals/474726/

    1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Re: Liar, Liar Your Pants on Fire

      You do realize that compared to the Clintons, Trump is the lesser of two evils.

      There's more, but you get the idea.

      Sucks to have a two party system when both candidates are worthless pieces of sh__

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Liar, Liar Your Pants on Fire

        You do realize that compared to the Clintons, Trump is the lesser of two evils.

        Based on approach, totally ignoring laws, milking charities for all it's worth and a TOTAL absence of ever having done anything for lesser human beings I'd say Trump is worse, also because there really is no discernible effort to hold himself to any standard of conduct and laws governing his role.

        The only one in this mob who originally had a truly charitable idea until Donald Trump ordered that to be milked too was Eric with his cancer foundation. Of course, as soon as Dad found out it was over - can't have someone sully the Trump name by not turning a profit..

      2. rogerthat1945

        Re: Liar, Liar Your Pants on Fire

        The interesting point about your comment, is about how much lower on the chain of ability you & your neighbors are than Trump or his disgusting alternative (Hilarious Clingon [another Kissinger sock-puppet]).

  19. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge

    If I were on that side of the pond....

    ....I would buy shares in companies producing Teflon. Maybe painting yourself with the stuff turns your face an odd colo(u)r.

  20. Big_Boomer

    Hahahahaha,...

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahah,,.... Oh please stop, Hahahahahahahahahahaha,....it hurts,... Hahahahahahahahahahah shouty, can't spell, Trump supporter Hahahahahahahahhah,... stormy MAJORITY, HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH, oh god I think some wee came out,.....

    1. Alistair Silver badge

      Re: Hahahahaha,...

      @ Big Boomer.

      Stop making fun of Bombastic Bobs anonymous posts. Thats not nice.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hahahahaha,...

        Stop making fun of Bombastic Bobs anonymous posts. Thats not nice.

        It's also quite lazy as it is, to paraphrase Winston Churchill, engaging in a battle of wit with an unarmed opponent..

  21. PhilipN Silver badge

    Sir Humphrey would never have been caught out

    If asked to re-affirm loyalty to the President he would without hesitation have declared unreserved and irrevocable loyalty to the Presidency.

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Sir Humphrey would never have been caught out

      Sir Humphrey would never have been caught out

      I dunno, I think there may've been some things even he would choke on! Even pond scum has standards (though orange pond scum may be the exception)

      1. RJG

        Re: Sir Humphrey would never have been caught out

        "I dunno, I think there may've been some things even he would choke on! Even pond scum has standards (though orange pond scum may be the exception)"

        Which is why Sir Humphrey would have pledged loyalty to the presideny, Not to the particular bit of orange pond scum currently holding the post.

      2. Truckle The Uncivil

        Re: Sir Humphrey would never have been caught out

        @Kiwi

        You missed the point. Read it again. A Sir Humphrey would have avowed loyalty to the presidency. Presidents change.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Sir Humphrey would never have been caught out

      "he would without hesitation have declared unreserved and irrevocable loyalty to the Presidency."

      No, he would have said something which the President would have believed to have been an expression of unreserved and irrevocable loyalty to the President bu whicht, when examined more closely, and with proper guidance would, in due course, have been seen to have been capable of a different interpretation and, indeed, whatever interpretation circumstances might require as dictated by those same circumstances as they might change. I could clarify it at greater length, of course.

  22. Panicnow

    I'd fire Comey too

    The chain of command in the US is problematic.

    Trump was elected with most of this stuff already in the public domain.

    Is the US a democracy or something else?

    This statement in no way implies my support for any other Trump policies, views or actions

    1. Kiwi Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: I'd fire Comey too

      Trump was elected with most of this stuff already in the public domain.

      You sure about that? Conversations he had with Comey after he was elected were "already in the public domain" before he was elected?

    2. Marshalltown

      Re: I'd fire Comey too

      For what cause? If Trump had even an inkling of his responsilities and limits under the constitution he would have kept out of the affair. As it is, he has practically labeled himself a criminal, even if "all" he did was try to ease things for a friend - show loyalty in shotrt. Loyalty to a criminal is criminal and where is approaches attempting to influence a criminal investigation, becomes obstruction of justice, even if the word "hope" is substituted for "want" or "I am telling you". Comey would be criminal himself if he was "loyal" to a person rather than the office, and he knew full well the office had no business saying what the person said.

  23. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    One interesting thought

    We still don't know who now owns 20% of a certain russian oil company.......

  24. herman Silver badge

    So Trump was quite correct, Comey is a showboat.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Yes, but...

      Being a showboat doesn't make you a liar. Being an astute political player, which I also think Comey is, doesn't make you a liar. I don't trust him much, but I trust him more than I trust Trump.

  25. Morrie Wyatt
    Coat

    Puzzled.

    "Senator King asked him if he was familiar with Henry II's 'Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?' comment"

    I wonder why he asked that?

    After all, Comey is not the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    (Mine's the one with the Blackadder DVD in the pocket.)

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Puzzled.

      In a word: Deniability.

      If you're intelligent and want to do something that's going to get you into trouble, or is even illegal, you don't ask someone to do it directly. You allow them to form the impression that you want this situation dealt with, and leave them to make their own decisions. And of course encourage those who fulfill your unspoken desires by promoting them for it.

      You also have meetings with people one-on-one, so evidence of anything will only be your word against theirs, so it would require at least two people to give evidence against you for a conviction.

      The downside is that your underlings may sometimes draw the wrong conclusion if you lose your temper about a situation and spout off about it. Then go and do something you didn't actually want.

      Hence Thomas Becket. Or maybe not. Henry did pennance anyway, to make up with the church, whether he was guilty or not. Walked on his knees for a mile, while the Canterbury catherdral monks whipped him. Although I'm sure that it was made clear to them in advance that he was still the bloody king, and there'd better not be more than the token amount of blood drawn to give the neccessary impression.

      Perhaps Trump could walk naked down Central Avenue while being pistol-whipped by FBI agents in robes?

  26. Bucky 2

    Criminal Foolishness?

    There are a number of things being said that don't ring true for me in this whole setup.

    If the FBI is "independent," then how in the world did Trump have the power to fire Comey? If it's supposed to be independent, that power must be removed, no matter how this ultimately plays out.

    The fact that a foreign nation wanted to put a useless douche in power doesn't make that useless douche complicitous. Heinlein called this technique a "Black Frost" campaign: Remove effective people from power, and leave incompetents in place. Even if it's not as commonplace as Heinlein suggested in "Friday," it's certainly not a new idea.

    The fact that Trump was abrasive and inappropriate shouldn't have been a surprise to Comey. Trump's been that way his entire life. He was elected based on the fact that country people get a boner for pompous dickwads (look at who they elect as senators). And Comey — G-Man extraordinare — recorded his experiences using what kind of futuristic FBI device? A diary? After the first meeting, sure. But afterwards? Sorry, but something doesn't hold water. I'd get the heebie jeebies, too, but being unpleasant isn't against the law.

    Trump is America's Cicciolina (except, you know, president instead of parliamentarian). He's an embarrassment, but I haven't seen anything yet that can't be explained by foolishness.

    1. Marshalltown

      Re: Criminal Foolishness?

      It is a good question but rather murky historically. The FBI was organized in the first half of the 20th C. J Edgar Hoover was the first director taking up the post in 1935. Prior to that the US had the BI, of which Hoover was the sixth director. His approach to maintaining independence for the FBI and his own position was through thoroughly illegal means. He could blackmail almost anyone in power who didn't like him and could harass politicians that opposed him and weren't in his files by having them "investigated" intensively.

      The only other director to be fired was William Sessions who was turfed out by Clinton. That act had two prongs to it. One, Sessions was a Republican and Clinton apparently wasn't happy about that, and 2) he really was an awful director. The FBI was forted up, and seriously firewalled communications with other agencies where it should have been cooperating and the evidence, scant thouh it be is that failure if cooperation between agencies has lead to some monumental intelligence failures.

      Comey in contrast was a Republican into 2016. He switched to Independent sometime that year. His actions regarding Clinton and her emails very likely cost her the election, not that she would have been much more popular than Trump. Trump may have assumed that Comey was "loyal" until he failed to ease off on Flynn as "hoped."

      The president appoints the director and that director serves at the pleasure of the president. Presidential interference with the FBI is clear evidence of Trump's ignorance or outright for how the US governmental system was designed to operate. He should have absolutely known going in that expressing his "wishes" and "hopes" regarding how the Justice Department operates were tantamount to misfeseance. It absolutely is irrelevant whether he expressed a "hope" or simply issued an order he has no right to issue. Likewise, stating that he expected "loyalty" is also misfeasance.

      Comey's "leaking" of his memos, and Comey being both a lawyer and a procesecutor, indicates that his informed opinion was that Trump had no leg to stand on. He would absolutely know how to cover himself legally.

  27. IGnatius T Foobar
    IT Angle

    What's the IT angle here?

    I can read about politics anywhere. Come on El Reg, post some IT-related stories.

  28. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    And yet there is the disgraceful business of the Russian Briefing in The Oval Office.

    Something stinks and it ain't on my shoes. I checked.

  29. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    I'm curious. How often do US Presidents have 1/1 dinners with their senior civil servants?

    I can imagine a formal dinner with the heads of all Federal Agencies (IIRC there's 24 or 26 of them, including NASA, FEMA, DEA etc)

    I can imagine a dinner for all the Head of the "US Intelligence Community" (16 of them, including the DNI)

    And I'm sure there are various other groupings within an administration that a POTUS would like to eyeball, see if they've got what it takes, informally test out ideas with them, outline their overall strategy so everyone knows what they need to do to be going in the right direction etc.

    But just them and a single guest? That sounds quite odd to me. I know it's a cliche but the POTUS actually is permanently quite busy, and doing stuff in groups is a more efficient use of his time.

    Personally if I was the Head of a US agency my WTFometer would be pinging like a Geiger counter in the engine room of a Soviet nuclear submarine.

    But if anyone's got a better feel for how Presidential dinners are run I'd like to know.

    1. Just Another SteveO

      Re: I'm curious. How often do US Presidents have 1/1 dinners with their senior civil servants?

      "Personally if I was the Head of a US agency my WTFometer would be pinging like a Geiger counter in the engine room of a Soviet nuclear submarine."

      Upvoted purely on that. Excellent work Sir!

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Upvoted purely on that. Excellent work Sir!"

        Thank you. :-)

        Sadly I'm still trying to find a situation where I can use the epicly tasteless "I'm sweating like a Russian submariner," coined by an ex cop I used to work with.

        On a serious note, I have no feel for how things are done in Washington. For all I know all Presidents have had regular single dinners with agency heads whose business (for whatever reason) they are especially interested in, and have done so for decades. Perhaps Presidents have always done it, it's perfectly natural, there's nothing suspicious about, it may be SOP

        And yet POTUS is one of the busiest people on the planet. Something doesn't sound quite right.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: "Upvoted purely on that. Excellent work Sir!"

          Comey himself said that he only had something like 3 one-to-one meetings with Obama. A last minute arranged dinner on a Friday evening sounds pretty odd. Actually dinner sounds pretty odd. A working lunch or breakfast I can well believe, but dinner seems a lot more serious and formal.

          Though you do have to account for the fact that Trump isn't a professional politician and doesn't do things the normal way.

          However at senior political level meetings would normally be conducted with trusted civil servants / advisors. People who keep a note of proceedings, and arrange the follow-up meetings, points to be actioned etc.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Upvoted purely on that. Excellent work Sir!"

          >And yet POTUS is one of the busiest people on the planet. Something doesn't sound quite right.

          Yeah - all that golf and lounging around in garishly-decorated holidays camps *really* does take up a lot of time. Why, he's barely got enough time to play kissy-face with middle-east dictators!

  30. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    Needlessly ambiguous terms

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6cake3bwnY

    This is going to be that "let's hope Professor Rickson meets with a little accident" all over again.

  31. John 104

    Why The Fuck

    Is this an article on Reg?

    Where is the tech angle? What does this have to do with ANY technology of any sort? Is it interesting? Yes. Does it belong on this site? No.

    Fucks sake, this site used to be a refuge from the political BS of the world where tech geeks could get the latest news on -gasp- technology. Might as well just navigate to MSNBC or Fox news.

    1. Androgynous Cow Herd

      The tech angle

      I am reading it on my computer.

      There you go...

      1. John 104

        Re: The tech angle

        @ ACH

        I guess that is all that is needed these days on el Reg.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Why The Fuck

      You are aware that you don't actually have to read the article? And that El Reg even give you a clue as to the contents, in the form of a headline?

      You don't need to thank me for solving your problem for you. You can just move on to the snarky articles abotu Apple, and carry on with your day in peace.

      The Register has always been about whatever the hell they want to write about. Which includes astronomy, why everyone should hate/fear/despise/mock Facebook/Wikipedia/Google/Apple etc., stories about Australians getting blow-jobs at 90mph, killer robots, spaceplanes launched from balloons...

  32. rogerthat1945

    UK/European Law is:-

    Whoever (can afford to) win/s, wins.

    &

    Whoever doesn`t ``get away with` offending the offenders`` doesn`t `get away with it`.

    I say that after 30+ years learning every branch of the UK Judiciary from the police to the Police investigation Bureau, to the Judges, to the Queens Bench Justice Department, to the Attorney General, to Strasbourg is as crooked as an an extinction-event meteorite.

    Move out if you have any sense.

  33. Notwork

    I'm sure there is a group in the US waiting to impeach Fart (English(UK) translation of Trump), they've probably got all they need but I guess when wave after wave of evidence is coming in it's kinda hard to say "OK, lets do him" without thinking "can't we just wait until this next debacle plays out".

  34. Grunchy

    What difference does it make

    The only Americans who love Trump are assholes, everybody else already knows Trump is a piece a crap.

    There's no direct evidence to win a conviction, furthermore Trump would have to be impeached by his own party, who are probably not keen to do so.

    So, what does it prove? Trump is immune, and now emboldened to do even worse crimes.

    Good work team!

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