Tag Archives: James Comey

Cinco de ResignO and Corn

Ex-Trump adviser Carl Icahn‘s oil refinery is cashing in on a “financial hardship waiver” from Trump’s EPA, freeing the facility from a key Federal regulation.

Related:

Trains, Cranes and Blame Games

CVR Energy Inc (based in EPA “administrator” Scott Pruitt‘s home state of Oklahoma) is one of a lucky two dozen “small” oil refineries (75,000 or fewer barrels produced daily) to score the coveted exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard regulation in 2017, potentially saving tens of millions of dollars according to Reuters.

Scott Pruitt is pictured. |Getty Images

Above: Pruitt makes a point.

Because the Federal Government’s main purpose is to preserve jobs that are no longer useful or exist only at the behest of enormous lobbies, all gasoline and diesel is required to contain a certain percentage of corn-based ethanol, which subsidizes corn farmers to use gasoline-powered tractors to harvest corn we don’t need to force-feed the animal flesh (locked in a race with global warming to destroy human civilization) and mix in with the real fossil fuels.

Reuters reports the program (originating under George W. Bush in 2005 and increasing the required “renewable” portion of blended fuel each year) purports to cut air pollution, reduce petroleum imports and support corn farmers.

Unfortunately, when government rules with unconstitutional regulations, the little people get shucked first. Small refineries must prove disproportionate financial hardship to legally waive the “blending credits” all oil outfits must otherwise either produce or purchase to present as annual tribute to the EPA. The “hardship” definition is more inclusive under Trump, leading to more waivers compared with those granted by Obama’s EPA.

The EPA’s oily move on CVR was lambasted by a separate corn-fed state official, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

According to Reuters, Icahn is currently under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for his role in influencing biofuels policy while serving as Trump’s adviser.

*

Speaking of the EPA…oh boy.

EPA head Scott Pruitt's security costs have been encouraged by his head of security, former Secret Service Pasquale 'Nino' Perrotta

Head EPA security thug Pasquale “Nino” Perrotta (above) resigned Tuesday under allegations of terminating whistleblower Kevin Chmielewski for refusing to retroactively approve some lavish travel for a former Pruitt aide. He was scheduled to talk to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday regarding their federal ethics investigation of the agency and it’s unclear how that will be refined settled.

According to The Hill, [o]nce someone leaves government employment, the inspector general’s office [which would concern internal, not congressional testimony-taking anyway] cannot compel someone to comply with an investigation.

(This may apply more to Albert Kelly, Pruitt’s head of the Superfund at EPA who, ironically enough, funded Pruitt through loans from his Bristow, OK-based SpiritBank. Apparently, the FDIC hit Kelly with a $125,000 fine and a lifetime banking ban last year after SpiritBank squandered $30 million in TARP bailout funds.)

SpiritBank Logo

Kelly (below) also resigned from EPA on Tuesday.

EPA's Albert Kelly. Photo credit: Oklahoma State Home Builders Association

(Credit to Daily Mail for obtaining a photo of Perrotta–apparently no easy feat, as even his LinkedIn profile keeps that ugly mug anonymous. But Daily Mail has a consistent typo implying Pruitt is receiving a blowjob rather than “taking heat” for his shameless exploitation of government office.)

From Nino’s LinkedIn profile, the former Secret Service agent fancies himself as a less-literate version of Liam Neeson from Taken:

I have a very “unique” law enforcement career with extensive leadership and law enforcement experience; world – wide [sic]. For the past ten years, as a hobby, I created and sold a very successful startup construction firm that accomplished numerous home improvement projects throughout the D.C. area. Today I manage a boutique security and investigative firm; [sic] Sequoia Security Group, Inc. which is based out of Bethesda, Maryland. The Sequoia team is comprised of highly successful, diversified team members, all having “unique” experience making our firm very successful at meeting our client needs. 

I am a results driven individual that enjoys [sic] seeing progress at work!

“Nino” reportedly encouraged Pruitt’s much-publicized police state preparations, including his upgraded Chevy Suburban with Kevlar-lined seat covers, twenty (20) bodyguards and $43,000 soundproof booth. (The proposed bulletproof desks never got installed.)

Sequoia Security Group associate, Edwin Steinmetz, reportedly won the $3,000 contract to shake down Pruitt’s office for possible concealed listening devices in March.

Washington Post:

Pruitt also had biometric locks installed in his office […] for a cost of $5,656.75. Those expenditures, first reported by AP, weren’t disclosed on the government’s contracting website because they were split into two payments and the threshold for reporting stands at $3,500.

Chicago Tribune:

[T]he 2014 Chevy Tahoe with four-wheel-drive that was used by Gina McCarthy, Pruitt’s predecessor as EPA administrator, has largely sat idle at the EPA headquarters, according to several current and former staffers. The agency had its lease renewed on Feb. 2, 2017, at a cost of $9,180.

Under House questioning in April, Pruitt admitted he delegated approval of larger pay raises for two subordinates (reversing his previous pleas of ignorance): Senior legal counsel Sarah Greenwalt received a raise of more than $66,000, bringing her salary to $164,200, and scheduling director Millian Hupp saw her salary jump from $48,000 to $114,590.

But citizens are perhaps most indignant at Pruitt’s self-indulgent travel portfolio. Washington Post alleges the administrator sought to use his office as a dress rehearsal for taxpayer-funded retirement: Pruitt drew up a list of at least a dozen countries he hoped to visit and urged aides to help him find official reasons to travel.

Apparently, Pruitt’s essential EPA mission to Morocco last December–four days, $100,000–was planned by ex-Comcast lobbyist Richard Smotkin, who subsequently scored a $40,000/month position lobbying for the Moroccan government. Cha-CHING !!!

John Konkus of EPA’s press office and Liz Bowman of the public affairs division also quit late last week.

*

The NSA more than tripled its metadata collection of phone calls last year compared to 2016, sweeping up 530 million call records. For your protection.

These call records include what number the unsuspecting citizen target dialed and how long they spoke. 40 individuals were targeted in 2017.

Surveillance requests under FISA section 702, which do not require a warrant, increased from 5,288 to 7,512.

NSA’s FISA Festivities Extended with Bipartisan Support; Rest of Government Fights for Funding–Updated with Related FBI Dereliction of Duty

Tech Crunch extrapolates that more Americans innocent until proven guilty (hope you have nothing to hide!) were “unmasked” by intelligence agencies.

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! April 3–Susan Rice Returns

Use of the pen register/trace and tap orders (for which Government prosecutors need only suggest that “the information likely to be obtained by such installation and use is relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation”) decreased. Lots of paperwork.

*

We missed some big news from March, in which ex-FBI director James Comey (currently self-enriching on the book tour and talk show circuit) was shown to have misled the public regarding options for cracking the Syed Farook iPhone in February 2016.

FBI Rapes More Phones

FBI Rapes More Phones (Continued)

Tech Crunch reported that days after Comey’s public pity party aimed at manipulating the public against the encryption on their iPhones that ostensibly prevented his investigation of the San Bernardino mass murderer, the FBI decided to ask existing vendors if that was even true. Apparently not, because the Remote Operations Unit (ROU), who handles the vendors, told the Inspector General that Comey never bothered to call them.

The OIG report cited former FBI Executive Assistant Director Amy Hess:

Hess expressed concerns that an [Operational Technology Division] unit may have had techniques available to exploit the Farook iPhone that certain unidentified OTD officials did not employ and that these officials were indifferent to the fact that FBI leadership and others were testifying to Congress, and filing affidavits in court, that the FBI had no such capability.

[Hess] became concerned that the CEAU [Cryptographic and Electronic Analysis Unit–a division of ODT] Chief did not seem to want to find a technical solution, and that perhaps he knew of a solution but remained silent in order to pursue his own agenda of obtaining a favorable court ruling against Apple. 

[…]

[He] told the OIG that, after the outside vendor came forward, he became frustrated that the case against Apple could no longer go forward, and he vented his frustration to the ROU Chief. He acknowledged that during this conversation between the two, he expressed disappointment that the ROU Chief had engaged an outside vendor to assist with the Farook iPhone, asking the ROU Chief, “Why did you do that for? [sic]”

As we reported previously, the iPhone was successfully hacked by an anonymous vendor.

On the book tour, Comey has reportedly stated his agents grilling  Michael Flynn believed the ex-Trump adviser deceived the bureau about his Kremlin communications. This was apparently contradicted by newly un-redacted House Intelligence Committee testimony from Comey, who professed the agents thought Flynn was being truthful.

*

Former FBI attorney Lisa Page, recently demoted in the wake of anti-Trump texts exchanged with Peter Strzok while helping Mueller investigate Trump’s alleged 2016 collusion with Moscow (see our link “NSA’s FISA Festivities…” above), resigned Friday.

Lisa Page, FBI agent who bashed Trump in texts, resigns

Page was photographed in “active wear.” Chilly!

(She may be modeling a new Washington trend, “take the pension and run.”)

For example, former Comey associate and chief FBI lawyer (recently demoted) James Baker…also resigned on Friday.

He is alleged to have spoken with Mother Jones prior to the breaking news of Trump’s alleged Kremlin connections in “the dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele. MJ reporter (yes, his actual name) David Corn denied Baker leaked the story.

*

Cambridge Analytica filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday.

*

And alleged House Democrat hacker Imran Awan continues to evade prosecution for charges of bank fraud and conspiracy. The most recent postponement moved his U.S. District Court hearing from Friday to June.

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! Awan Updates

Fox News reports a plea deal may be planned.

Awan’s attorney contends the conservative site Daily Caller, as well as goading tweets from Trump, are keeping the story alive, requiring time-consuming provision of evidence.

 

Thanks to our sources: 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-biofuels-epa-icahn/exclusive-u-s-epa-grants-biofuels-waiver-to-billionaire-icahns-oil-refinery-sources-idUSKBN1I10YB

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/386281-upheaval-at-pruitts-epa-as-departures-mount?userid=115887

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/06/man-hired-to-sweep-scott-pruitts-office-for-bugs-is-in-business-with-a-top-epa-security-official/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.a295cf156f0e

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/04/12/pruitt-epa-security-chief-spending-pasquale-perrotta-480825

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/ct-scott-pruitt-suv-bullet-proof-seat-covers-20180417-story.html

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/epa-chief-faces-capitol-hill-grilling-over-ethical-043405198–politics.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/scott-pruitt-lobbyists-foreign-travel_us_5aebd4bfe4b0ab5c3d63a64e

 

NSA triples metadata collection numbers, sucking up over 500 million call records in 2017

https://nypost.com/2018/05/05/house-intel-panel-report-reveals-comey-book-tour-discrepancy/

Inquiry finds FBI sued Apple to unlock phone without considering all options

https://nypost.com/2018/05/05/lisa-page-fbi-agent-who-bashed-trump-in-texts-resigns/

https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/04/politics/fbi-officials-lisa-page-james-baker-resign/index.html

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/385881-cambridge-analytica-shutting-down-report?userid=115887

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/05/04/ex-dem-it-aide-imran-awan-s-case-hit-with-repeated-delays-as-feds-probe-new-allegations.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fpolitics+%28Internal+-+Politics+-+Text%29

Comey to Convocate and Cash In

Former FBI Director James Comey (below) has scored a lucrative part-time lecture position at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Former FBI Director James Comey has accepted a part-time position at Howard University this year, where he'll be delivering a series of lectures 

Comey will refund his $100,000 haul from the “Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy” position to offer scholarships to students from foster homes entering the historically black university.

The first appearance for the much-maligned 2016 Trump victory architect will be the September convocation for students.

The ensuing five lecture topics “will be decided after the ex-FBI chief converses with student leaders and other campus stakeholders.”

FBI Rapes More Phones (Continued)

Meanwhile, in the longstanding tradition of Washington beneficiaries, Time reports:

Comey’s tenure at Howard University will coincide with the release of his widely anticipated book, which is expected to be published in the Spring of 2018.

*

According to Washington Examiner, Comey commanded the trust and approval of colleagues, as documented on score sheets from three years’ worth of FBI “internal memos” released to news organizations for fulfillment of FOIA requests (which the FBI, unlike the State Department, apparently honors).

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 3.81 or higher indicating success, Comey’s subordinates reportedly gave him at least a 3.81 on “nearly every item.” Grade inflation!

Comey received a score of 4.47 from employees when asked to grade the former director on the “trust and confidence” they have in him as a leader. The former FBI director received a 4.48 from subordinates on whether they would work for Comey again, and a 4.22 when asked if he is humble.

[???]

Employees gave Comey a score of 4.38 for being someone more interested in leading than being liked.

[our emphasis]

The scores reportedly dipped slightly this year compared to 2016.

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 9: James Comey, Rogue Agent

Christopher A Wray DOJ portrait.jpg

Comey was replaced by Christopher Wray (above) at the FBI on August 2. Five Democratic Senators voted against Wray’s confirmation, including Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY).

Al Franken (MN) missed the vote.

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4817250/Comey-takes-position-Howard-University.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

http://time.com/4912861/james-comey-howard-university-new-position/

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/internal-surveys-show-former-fbi-director-james-comey-enjoyed-broad-support/article/2631748

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00181#position

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: July 9: James Comey, Rogue Agent

The Hill learned that recently-dismissed FBI Director James Comey sprinkled some classified details into “private memos” he transcribed after meeting with his former boss, President Donald Trump. How many of these so-called “personal recollections” contained classified information? More than half, per unnamed sources.

That Comey’s office pursued a criminal investigation into Trump’s chief rival for the presidency last year, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for a similar practice–an angle many Democrats (and Hillary herself) continue to credit for the failure of her elitist campaign amidst a sordid history of political thuggery and personal enrichment–was not lost on The Hill.

Related:

BREAKING NEWS

As we have extensively covered, the eleventh-hour “reopening” of the Hillary email investigation in the campaign’s final weeks was widely cited by Hillary and her allies (along with Russian hacking, sexism, racism and “fake news”) as tipping the November 2016 election to President Trump.

BREAKING NEWS–PART ONE

Comey testified [in June] he considered the memos to be personal documents and that he shared at least one of them with a Columbia University lawyer friend. He asked that lawyer to leak information from one memo to the news media in hopes of increasing pressure to get a special prosecutor named in the Russia case after Comey was fired as FBI director. 

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

[our emphasis]

The “Russia case” refers to the FBI probe into possible collusion between Trump and Russia, who reportedly attempted to hack the 2016 U.S. national elections. Comey’s leadership of the case coincided with highly-publicized testimony to Congress prior to his firing.

Related:

BREAKING: Comey at the Bat

The Russia investigation continues under former FBI head Robert Mueller.

Thanks to our source:

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/341225-comeys-private-memos-on-trump-conversations-contained-classified?rnd=1499645596

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

You’re fired!!!

Trump unexpectedly dismissed of FBI Director James Comey.

“Today, President Donald J. Trump informed FBI Director James Comey that he has been terminated and removed from office [.] President Trump acted based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”

–White House statement

Related image

Comey.

The announcement reportedly shocked the intelligence community. Comey’s termination was read to him en route to Los Angeles for a recruitment event [as] part of the FBI’s efforts to boost diversity.

Related:

BREAKING: Comey at the Bat

According to Good Morning America, Rosenstein allege[d] that Comey was wrong to later “hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation.”

Typically when the FBI decides not to bring charges against someone, it normally does not discuss its decision-making. When Comey held a July 5 news conference explaining why [Hillary] Clinton would not be facing charges but at the same time criticizing her email practices, he cited “intense public interest” as the reason for the exception.

[our emphasis]

As we are all now thoroughly aware, Hillary’s 2016 loss was completely attributed to Comey’s actions,

BREAKING NEWS–PART ONE

a shocking turn of events, given his above-detailed criminal pardon of the beleaguered Secretary of State just two months earlier:

BREAKING NEWS

The Hill:

Both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended Comey’s dismissal, citing “substantial damage” to the FBI’s reputation and credibility under his leadership. 

[…]

At issue, according to a May 9 memo from Rosenstein to Sessions, were Comey’s remarkable public disclosures about Clinton’s conduct. In July, he took the rostrum — without authorization from the Justice Department — to announce that he would not be recommending charges against the former secretary of State.

“I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken,” Rosenstein wrote in the memo.

[…]

The director “was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5 and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution,” Rosenstein wrote, because “it is not the function of the director to make such an announcement.”

[our emphasis]

This itself is confounding, because then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch yielded to the FBI’s recommendations for prosecuting the Secret Server after Lynch’s now-infamous ambush by Hillary’s husband on the Phoenix airport tarmac, which many labeled political interference of a criminal investigation.

Rod Rosenstein US Attorney.jpg

Rosenstein (above) was nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate to replace Sally Yates, who had been Acting Attorney General (AAG) before her high-profile firing by Trump after 10 days on the job. Rosenstein is now Deputy Attorney General (next in line to lead Justice if Sessions dies). The 52-year-old former U.S. Attorney for Maryland, appointed by the George W. Bush administration, was one of a pair of U.S. Attorneys Trump specifically kept on board. The other was Obama appointee Dana Boente (below), 63, who served as AAG from Yates’ dismissal until Sessions’ confirmation. He has now returned to his former post of U.S. Attorney for Eastern District of Virginia.

Dana Boente.jpg

Per USA Today, Trump recently changed the Justice Department order of succession with a subtle executive order [pun alertin order to undo the executive order of Obama issued just before Trump took over the White House:

The order appears to be the first that Trump has not signed in a public ceremony. It’s dated Thursday — the same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in — but was not posted to the White House website until Friday morning. The White House did not explain the discrepancy.

 

[…]

Seven days before he left office, President Obama changed the order of succession without explanation to remove Boente from the list. Obama’s order had listed U.S. attorneys in the District of Columbia, the Northern District of Illinois and the Central District of California.

[our emphasis]

*

U.S. Attorneys for Connecticut Deirdre Daly and Northern District of New York Richard Hartunian were granted “short term reprieves” from the mass exodus of Obama-era Justice appointees in order to “complete 20 years of service” at the Justice Department, according to Politico. This milestone determines how fat a pension check they can suck from the nation’s sapped finances until the end of their days. Both major political parties win when they can share in the spoils confiscated from the little people: it’s a bipartisan thing.

*

Burlington Free Press sued the Feds using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the resignation letters of the 44 other Obama-appointed attorneys general Trump asked to leave (according to the frantic mainstream press, he is the first president to ever do this for a transition change, or something).

USA Today noted Justice found the parting platitudes so “inherently personal” that they should be exempt from release.

But according to public records, the documents were actually withheld because they were never read by Justice.

*

Comey’s recent numbers to Congress on Hillary hack Huma Abedin‘s harried handling of the most qualified presidential candidate ever‘s Secret Server also had to be adjusted.

Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin forwarded “hundreds and thousands” of Clinton’s emails to her then-husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), to print out for Clinton while she was secretary of State.

In fact, the bureau said in a letter sent to the Senate panel Tuesday that only a handful of the 49,000 relevant emails it uncovered on Weiner’s laptop had been forwarded manually. Most of the emails got onto the computer as a result of backups of her Blackberry.

[…]

Abedin, the FBI director testified last week, “appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to [Weiner], for him I think to print out for her so she could then deliver them to the secretary of State.”

[our emphasis]

Secure!!

*

Speaking of the November election, much like Hillary refusing to face her supporters when her defeat by Trump became clear, White House press secretary Sean Spicer bumbled his “face the media” duties following the Comey termination. According to Washington Post, it did not go well:

Was Sessions involved? “That’s something you should ask the Department of Justice,” Spicer said.

Was Rosenstein’s probe part of a larger review of the FBI? “That’s, again, a question that you should ask the Department of Justice,” he said.

Did the president discuss Rosenstein’s findings with Rosenstein? “No, I don’t believe, I don’t know how that sequence went — I don’t know,” he said.

What was the president’s role? “Again, I have to get back to you [stupid phrase alert] on the tick-tock,” he said.

When’s the last time Trump and Comey spoke? “Uh, I don’t know. I don’t know. There’s some — I don’t know. I don’t know,” he said.

What were the three occasions on which the president says Comey assured him that he was not under investigation? “I don’t — we can follow — I can try, yeah,” he said.

How long did the president deliberate? “I don’t, I don’t … I can look at  [what is this guy smoking?] the tick-tock. I know that he was presented with that today. I’m not sure what time,” he said.

Why wasn’t Comey given the news in a personal phone call? “I think we delivered it by hand and by email and that was — and I get it, but you asked me a question and that’s the answer,” he said.

Did Comey’s testimony last week — which contained inaccuracies — influence the decision? “You’d have to ask the Department of Justice. They’re the ones that made the recommendation,” he said.

Why didn’t the president do this months ago? “Again, I would refer you to the Department of Justice,” he said.

Does he know about grand-jury subpoenas that have reportedly been issued in an investigation involving Michael Flynn, Trump’s previous national security adviser? “I’m not — I’m not aware of any,” he said.

Is it true that the president will meet on Wednesday with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov? “We’ll see what the schedule says. I don’t — I just — I’ve been a little tied up.”

The chronology of the Spicer charade is unclear. It sounds like he wasn’t going to make a statement, then made a statement, then [other media outlets were quite clear on this part] literally “hid in the bushes,” before agreeing to a brief interview only in the cover of darkness:

White House press secretary Sean Spicer wrapped up his brief interview with Fox Business from the White House grounds late Tuesday night and then disappeared into the shadows, huddling with his staff near a clump of bushes and then behind a tall hedge.

[…]

After Spicer spent several minutes hidden in the darkness and among the bushes near these sets, Janet Montesi, an executive assistant in the press office, emerged and told reporters that Spicer would answer some questions, as long as he was not filmed doing so. Spicer then emerged.

“Just turn the lights off. Turn the lights off,” he ordered. “We’ll take care of this. … Can you just turn that light off?”

Memes abounded.

Image result for sean spicer hedge

Thanks to our sources:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/09/politics/fbi-james-comey-fired-letter/index.html?sr=twCNN050917fbi-james-comey-fired-letter1110PMVODtopPhoto&linkId=37406591

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/fbi-director-james-comey-fired-215047657–abc-news-topstories.html

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/332613-trump-fires-comey

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/332660-trump-bombshell-fbis-comey-fired

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/332608-fbi-corrects-comey-testimony

http://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2017/03/us-attorneys-dismissal-236009

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/10/trump-executive-order-obama-justice-department-succession/97752898/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/05/10/as-trump-fired-comey-his-staff-scrambled-to-explain-why/?utm_term=.f75ea0c74d14

BREAKING: Comey at the Bat

Updated May 8 with additional reporting on Comey’s FBI priorities for investigations: namely, he apparently tried to warn the public last summer that the FBI was investigating Russian attempts to sway the 2016 election, but then-President Obama’s “Situation Room” shot Comey down.

On May 3, FBI director James Comey told a Senate panel in several hours of testimony he was “mildly nauseous” [someone get a hashtag circulating] about his late-October re-opening of the criminal investigation into then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton‘s Secret Server, but stood by his decision.

“It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might have had some impact on the election. But honestly it wouldn’t change the decision.”

–James Comey

Comey has been interviewed by the Justice Department inspector general, which is interesting because (see below) he took over the Secret Server investigation from…the Justice Department after Hillary’s husband, former president Bill Clinton stormed onto then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch‘s private jet for purposes still unknown. And in the heat of the investigation (and literal heat of the Phoenix, AZ airport tarmac!), too!

Hillary has recently emphasized Comey’s action as the reason du jour for her upset November loss of the U.S. presidency to Donald Trump.

She was cleared by the FBI for her unprecedented use of unsecured personal email and unilateral, massive-scale deletions of official State Departments communications as Obama’s first Secretary of State.

BREAKING NEWS

However, a separate FBI criminal investigation into top aide Huma Abedin’s husband Anthony Weiner led to Comey’s brief return to the Hillary server just days before the presidential election.

BREAKING NEWS–PART ONE

The Hillary campaign decried the FBI’s conduct as “unprecedented” and “irresponsible,” while remaining stubbornly unaware of the irony.

“Unprecedented” and “Irresponsible”

*

Comey also told the Senate Judiciary Committee a little more about the FBI’s rank-pulling on the Hillary Secret Server investigation over the Justice Department.

“A number of things had gone on which I can’t talk about yet, that made me worry that the department leadership could not credibly complete the investigation and decline prosecution without grievous damage to the American people’s confidence in the justice system […]

“And then the [STUPID PHRASE ALERT] capper was — and I’m not picking on the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, who I like very much — but her meeting with President Clinton on that airplane was the capper for me, and I then said, you know what, the department cannot, by itself, credibly end this.”

Hillary Email Updates

*

On the matter of the Weiner emails, classified Hillary communications were indeed found on the disgraced former congressman’s sexting laptop, but the content was already known to the FBI:

“Somehow, [Hillary’s] emails were being forwarded to Anthony Weiner, including classified information,’’ Comey said, adding later, “His then-spouse Huma Abedin appears to have had a regular practice of forwarding emails to him for him to print out for her so she could deliver them to the secretary of state.”

[Sounds like proper protection of secure state business to us!]

Huma and hubby were not charged, however:

“Really the central problem we had with the whole email investigation was proving people . . . had some sense they were doing something unlawful. That was our burden, and we were unable to meet it,’’ [Comey] said.

Huma Update (BREAKING NEWS–PART TWO)

*

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) expressed concern that Comey did not investigate Russia’s interference in the 2016 election with the same vigor he applied to Hillary’s Secret Server. Comey denied the charge.

Other Democrats joined Feinstein, according to Washington Post, in hitting Comey for not disclosing that the FBI had begun secretly investigating in late July whether any Trump associates might be working with Russian officials to meddle with the presidential campaign.

Senator Patrick Leahy (I-VT), who caucuses with the Democrats, opined that Comey should have concealed his agency’s activities from the public:

“I would have been satisfied if he had done what all Republican and Democratic administrations have done in the past. The Justice Department has a procedure. You do not release information like that just before an election.”

*

And finally, Comey had some strong words for the anti-secrecy organization WikiLeaks:

“To my mind, it crosses a line when it moves from being trying to educate the public and instead becomes about intelligence porn, quite frankly,” Comey said. A “huge portion” of WikiLeaks’ activities “has nothing to do with legitimate news activity,” he said, “… but is simply about releasing classified information to damage the United States of America.”

 

[Spicy!]

All emphasis is ours.

UPDATE 5/8/17:

We neglected to mention a March 30 development that is relevant to Senator Feinstein’s allegations of bias towards investigating Hillary over Russian election interference.

According to Newsweek, Comey tried to educate the public on the Russian efforts to swing the 2016 election Trump’s way.

Comey was silenced by…the Obama White House.

Citing two sources with knowledge of the matter, Newsweek reported: “Comey pitched the idea of writing an op-ed about the Russian campaign during a meeting in the White House Situation Room in June or July.”

One source told Newsweek: “He had a draft of it or an outline. He held up a piece of paper in a meeting and said, ‘I want to go forward.’”

The report continues: “Many in the room didn’t like the idea, and White House officials thought the announcement should be a coordinated message backed by multiple agencies.”

A source told the news organization, “An op-ed doesn’t have the same stature. It comes from one person.”

A second source with knowledge of the request told Newsweek, “The op-ed would not have mentioned whether the FBI was investigating Donald Trump’s campaign workers or others close to him for links to the Russians’ interference in the election… it would have included much of the same information as the bombshell declassified intelligence report released January 6, which said Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to influence the presidential election.”

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-director-james-comey-begins-testimony-to-congress/2017/05/03/9e3244bc-3006-11e7-9534-00e4656c22aa_story.html?utm_term=.41bd452b9d1d

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/politics/comey-loretta-lynch-clinton-tarmac-meeting/index.html?sr=twpol050317comey-loretta-lynch-clinton-tarmac-meeting0716PMVODtopLink&linkId=37160992

https://www.yahoo.com/tv/fbi-chief-james-comey-tried-expose-russian-interference-153140819.html

February Flashback: Police Officer Held Under All Writs Act, No Charges

Former Philadelphia police sergeant Francis Rawls remained in federal prison indefinitely–16 months so far. He has reportedly refused to unlock two computer hard drives alleged to contain child pornography.

Francis Rawls
Francis Rawls

 

US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (Philadelphia) heard the case six months ago, but has not ruled.

Arstechnica:

Rawls was thrown in the slammer on September 30, 2015 “until such time that he fully complies” (PDF) with a court order to unlock his hard drives. A child-porn investigation focused on Rawls when prosecutors were monitoring the online network, Freenet. They executed a search warrant in 2015 at Rawls’ home. The authorities say it’s a “foregone conclusion” that illicit porn is on those drives. But they cannot know for sure unless Rawls hands them the alleged evidence that is encrypted with Apple’s standard FileVault software.

[our emphasis]

Authorities are using the 1789 All Writs Act to coerce the alleged child porn consumer into self-incrimination.

Arstechnica notes this is the same justification FBI thug James Comey unsuccessfully employed to manipulate Apple into reverse-engineering software for its iPhones under the pretense of gathering more evidence on San Bernardino ISIS murderers Tashfeen Malik and Syed Farook–after deliberating sabotaging Farook’s phone by instructing local authorities to lock it up, as we have extensively covered.

Uncle Sam’s Unsatisfying Anal

Arstechnica also reports that, per the government, the eighteenth-century Bill of Rights specifically provided for obliging suspected criminals orchestrate the prosecution’s case by assembling evidence:

Rawls, the government argues, (PDF) “repeatedly asserts that the All Writs Act order requires him to divulge his passcodes, but he is incorrect: the order requires no testimony from [Rawls], and he may keep his passcodes to himself. Instead, the order requires only that [Rawls] produce his computer and hard drives in an unencrypted state.”

[our emphasis]

Thanks to our source:

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/02/justice-naps-man-jailed-16-months-for-refusing-to-reveal-passwords/

Huma Update (BREAKING NEWS–PART TWO)

Huma Abedin Alleges She, Anthony Weiner Not Provided Search Warrant for Weiner’s Potential Underage Sexting

Image result for huma abedin

Lifetime personal slave aide to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin (above) filed a request with a U.S. judge demanding to see a search warrant for the computer material confiscated by the FBI for further investigation of the Hillary Secret Server.

As we have reported, the FBI’s timely announcement of additional review of Hillary emails stored on the (possibly underage woman-involving) hard drive of Abedin’s now-separated husband, former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was slammed in retrospect by Democratic operatives as having cost their personally-flawed and scandal-ridden “champion,” Hillary, the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump last month.

Related, scarcely-mentioned fallout from the Secret Server:

Hillary Updates

Yahoo! has more with our orange emphasis:

In a letter filed in Manhattan federal court, Abedin said she was never provided a copy of the warrant, nor was her estranged husband, former Democratic U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, whose computer contained the emails in question.

The letter was filed as a federal judge considers whether to unseal the application for the search warrant, which was obtained after FBI Director James Comey informed Congress of newly discovered emails on Oct. 28.

[…]

U.S. District Judge Kevin Castel had invited affected parties to weigh in on the potential release of the search warrant application, which is being sought by Los Angeles-based lawyer Randol Schoenberg.

In their letter, Abedin’s lawyers said she was unable to evaluate the issue as neither she nor Weiner was provided the warrant itself, despite federal rules requiring authorities to provide a warrant to a person whose property was taken.

Lawyers for Clinton and Weiner did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did the U.S. Justice Department.

[…]

Sources close to the investigation have said the emails were discovered during an unrelated probe into Weiner following a media report that he engaged in sexually explicit cellphone and online messages with a 15-year-old girl.

See our original post on Huma’s continuing Hillary- and Anthony-induced legal headache:

BREAKING NEWS–PART ONE

Thanks to our source:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/clinton-aide-abedin-seeks-review-clinton-emails-search-003338326.html

“Unprecedented” and “Irresponsible”

Hillary’s former communications director Jennifer Palmieri complained Monday night with Rachel Maddow on MSNBC that FBI head thug James Comey’s unusual messaging regarding the past criminal behavior of Palmieri’s boss was “devastating” to Hillary’s second presidential campaign and the main reason she lost to Republican rival Donald Trump.

The Hill reported:

[Palmieri] said in nearly all of the battleground states, Clinton performed anywhere from 2 points to 5 points lower than the campaign predicted.

“If [Jill Stein’s] votes had gone to Clinton, we would have won,” Palmieri told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Monday night.

Focus was trained on Michigan, where Clinton lost by 10,704 votes.

According to New York Times, Jill Stein received 51,463 votes in Michigan, or 1.1%.

Libertarian Gary  Johnson, and the 172,136 Michigan votes (3.6%) he received, were not addressed by Rachel Maddow, who pointed out only that the Stein votes exceeded the gap between Clinton and Trump in several battleground states, particularly Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Stein has reclaimed the spotlight over the past two weeks by raising money and successfully executing “recounts” of swing state ballots by hand.

However, Palmieri had bigger fish to fry!

“What we think accounts for the big dropoff … is the Comey letter […] There’s a lot more that we could have done, but we had accounted for all our challenges and our problems and we were positioned to win, and I think that Comey letter was one too many things to absorb.

“It was unprecedented, irresponsible and … regardless of what his intentions were, it had a devastating impact,” she said.

[The Hill with our emphasis]

BREAKING NEWS–PART ONE

(The adjectives Comey used in July to explain his non-prosecution of Hillary for her email antics called her behavior only “extremely careless.” He noted that “gross negligence” would have been the necessary level of transgression to prosecute.)

Elsewhere in the mediaverse, former Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon had something to say, per Politico (our redness):

“Now of course, in hindsight, there are any number of steps that we could have taken that may have made the difference in a state as closely decided as Michigan, but the consistent theme across all the battleground states was that we saw our numbers drop in the final week after Jim Comey [sic] sent his shocking letter to Congress.”

The statement is quite similar to Palmieri’s. It’s almost as if Hillary’s team have been instructed to unilaterally blame the FBI for their candidate’s loss!

Fallon has some history with Politico, demanding in September that the website retract their “egregiously false” [it wasn’t] headline that Hillary’s Secret Server was subsidized by tax dollars:

Hillary Updates

Rachel Maddow, meanwhile, noted that Hillary spent a record $1.2 billion on the 2016 campaign (including donations and PACs). Trump spent $600 million, including from his PACs.

Maddow also reminded viewers that Palmieri had refused her requests to interview Hillary throughout the campaign, then asked once more to interview the former Secretary.

Palmieri declined: “I don’t know that now is the time…[…]…December, I wouldn’t count on it.”

Hillary is making time for her most generous donors, however. Tonight, Vanity Fair reports, Clinton is having a big party in Manhattan at the Plaza Hotel, once owned by Trump, for her campaign donors, as a sort of thank-you and keep-in-touch farewell. It is expected to cost more than $100,000 and be paid for with excess campaign funds.

Thanks to our sources:

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/310101-top-clinton-aide-blames-loss-on-comey-letter

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/michigan-hillary-clinton-trump-232547

http://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/michigan

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/07/05/extremely-careless-and-7-other-comey-quotes-that-explain-the-fbis-clinton-email-findings/?utm_term=.8e2d05494ed9

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/12/huma-abedin-life-after-clinton

*

The MSNBC video of Maddow and Palmieri, while still available, can be viewed here:

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/palmieri-comey-letter-one-thing-too-many-for-clinton-831525955674

Hillary Updates

As we heard in the Friday “news dump,” grief-mongering, politics-playing, privacy-pissing, national security ham-handing FBI head man James Comey (who interestingly said as soon as Donald Trump seized the GOP nomination this summer that he was no longer a registered Republican, after donating to the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Mitt Romney) released a nebulous statement on a new development in the investigation of Anthony Weiner‘s allegedly felonious weiner that may have consequences for the investigation of Hillary’s Secret Server.

Comey closed the investigation after Bill Clinton forced his way onto the private jet of Attorney General Loretta Lynch just before Independence Day. Hillary, who curated all her State Department emails on her basement Secret Server and then deleted them against Federal regulations, reportedly went through a 3.5 hour debrief just before Comey’s public assessment of Hillary’s “extremely careless, but no reasonable prosecutor would charge her” behavior.

Hillary Email Updates

“It is pretty strange to put something like that out, with such little information, right before an election. In fact, it’s not just strange; it’s unprecedented and it is deeply troubling because voters deserve to get full and complete facts. Put it all out on the table.”

–Hillary rallies supporters in Daytona Beach, FL.

Once news of her Secret Server broke in spring of 2015, Hillary noted other Secretaries of State had used unauthorized, non-government emails to conduct business against regulations as well. She continues to suggest George W. Bush appointee Colin Powell told her to use the practice. Hillary’s call for transparency is interesting. State Department employees she paid privately to install her Secret Server have since “taken the Fifth” to avoid criminal prosecution.

There are also two (2) hard copies of all of the Hillary emails floating around in the U.S. Postal Service somewhere, as we previously reported:

Hillary Updates

Clinton campaign hack Robby Mook (yes that is his actual, very masculine name) had a frantic session on Fox News Sunday in which he suddenly demanded transparency for the potential criminal investigation of his super-secretive boss:

What we’re concerned and disturbed by is that Director Comey sent a letter saying we have some information. I don’t know if it’s significant; I don’t know if it isn’t.”
 
Mook said Comey didn’t say if the emails found were sent or received by the Democratic nominee. Another hypothetical situation is that the emails are duplicates that have already been released, Mook said.
 
“We need all the information,” Mook said, adding the FBI director needs to get it out quickly
There was also some confusion as to whether Comey only addressed the Republican Congress in his  letter. Turns out Hillary just scanned the first page before crying foul:

The Hill got some irate Planet Clinton sources to comment on the situation anonymously:
“I’m livid, actually,” one Clinton surrogate told The Hill. “This has turned into malpractice. It’s an unforced error at this point. I have no idea what Comey is up to but the idea this email issue is popping back up again is outrageous. It [the Secret Server] never should have occurred in the first place. Someone somewhere should have told her no. And they didn’t and now we’re all paying the price.”
*
Career Clintonite (and recent un-registered Russian lobbyist; see below) John Podesta had a scathing response to the FBI assault on the Clinton campaign, which Mr. Podesta chairs in order to get a Cabinet position in January. The Hill:
“FBI Director Comey should immediately provide the American public more information than is contained in the letter he sent to eight Republican committee chairmen,” Podesta said in a statement. 

[Podesta, like Mr. Mook in the above video, did not read the second page of the statement, which cc’d the ranking Dirty Dems.]

“Already, we have seen characterizations that the FBI is ‘reopening’ an investigation but Comey’s words do not match that characterization. Director Comey’s letter refers to emails that have come to light in an unrelated case, but we have no idea what those emails are and the Director himself notes they may not even be significant.
 
“It is extraordinary that we would see something like this just 11 days out from a presidential election,” Podesta added.

*
Some Republicans who want special access to Hillary in the (still likely) second Clinton presidency have called out Comey. The Hill reports on GOP dinosaur Chuck Grassley, who is seeking election to his seventh 6-year Senate term Tuesday:

“Your letter failed to give Congress and the American people enough context to evaluate the significance or full meaning of this development,” Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), the Republican head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a letter to the FBI. 

“Without additional context, your disclosure is not fair to Congress, the American people, or Secretary Clinton.”

*
And in fairness to Trump (why can’t there be a third or fourth option for President??), the FBI continues to investigate former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. Like Hillary when she was subpoenaed for the Secret Server, Mr. Manafort is also denying the FBI’s actions, according to The Hill:

Manafort has denied the allegations [of taking Russian bribes], as well as the Monday NBC report that the FBI has opened an inquiry.

“None of it is true. … There’s no investigation going on by the FBI that I’m aware of,” Manafort told NBC.

Related:

Russian Relations

*
As we have mentioned several times, Clinton campaign chair John Podesta was, until August, a chief lobbyist for the Russian state bank, Sberbank.
 All emphasis is ours.
 
Thanks to our sources:
http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/303689-report-fbi-reviewing-manaforts-foreign-ties

http://www.politico.com/blogs/james-comey-testimony/2016/07/what-party-is-james-comey-registered-as-225223

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2016/10/29/clinton-what-the-fbi-is-doing-is-unprecedented-and-deeply-troubling–so-was-your-private-server-hillary-n2238481?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl&newsletterad=

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/303476-clinton-aide-what-comey-did-disturbing

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/303901-fbi-spurs-total-chaos-in-elections-final-days

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/303689-report-fbi-reviewing-manaforts-foreign-ties

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/303402-anger-disbelief-in-clinton-camp

BREAKING NEWS–PART ONE

TO BE UPDATED

The FBI announced yesterday in a letter to lawmakers that new emails from Hillary’s Secret Server had possibly been uncovered, necessitating the re-opening of the investigation.

As a reminder, Mr. Comey shamelessly cleared Hillary of all wrongdoing in her illegal, unauthorized, unsecured basement email server, in which she compiled and then deleted thousands of emails belonging to the taxpayers. We have covered this horrific situation extensively, but the most depressing update occurred under the cover of the Independence Day weekend:

BREAKING NEWS

FBI head thug James Comey apparently recently seized some devices belonging to Hillary henchwoman Huma Abedin (above, sleeveless) and her recently-separated husband Anthony Weiner (above, foreskin). This was in connection to Weiner allegedly sexting a minor, which, like any juicy scandal involving the media’s preferred political party, was revealed by a British outlet, Daily Mail.

weiner 37.jpg

Weiner reportedly sent this picture of his weiner and his 3-year-old son to a sexting partner last year. Courtesy of New York Post.

Mr. Weiner resigned from his New York congressional seat in disgrace 5 years ago, then briefly mounted an unsuccessful campaign for mayor of New York City.

New York Times broke yesterday that Comey found some Hillary emails on either Huma’s or Weiner’s device “that appear to be pertinent to the [Secret Server] investigation.”

Comey reportedly wrote the previously unaccounted emails were uncovered “in connection with an unrelated case.”

Kudos to the British press for connecting the dots.

The Hill has more:

After being briefed by his team, Comey “agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps” to determine whether the emails “contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”

Comey said he could not predict how long it would take the bureau to decide whether the newly found emails are “significant,” meaning the investigation could hang over the Democratic presidential nominee’s head through the election.

[our emphasis]

(As a reminder, Hillary has repeatedly insisted she “neither sent nor received material marked classified” on her Secret Server. This claim has been eviscerated by multiple outlets and seems to hinge on whether material at State Department is ever literally marked “classified.” The FBI has since discovered over 1,000 messages Hillary deleted under the guise of their “personal” content that in fact contained top-secret, “classified” material.)

Mr. Comey’s previous public shaming of privacy advocates and displays of false helplessness to better control the little people while victimizing the most successful corporation in the history of civilization  are touched on here:

FBI Rapes More Phones

It should also be noted that Mr. Comey himself advises the anti-NSA precautions we have long espoused. While he did not specifically address the national security agency’s collection of all phone call duration and parties from every American, every day, with no warrant, nor the GPS device implanted standard in every smartphone from the factory so the Federal Government can track subjects citizens every moment of their lives, Comey had this to say about covering the webcam on his laptop:

When asked if he tapes over his cameras at home, Comey replied, “Heck yeah, heck yeah. And I also — I get mocked for a lot of things, much mocked for that — but I hope people lock their cars. I don’t have my own car that I drive, but I’m sure we lock our FBI cars. Lock your doors at night. I have an alarm system. You have an alarm system? You should use it. I use mine.”

(Yahoo! News on 9/15/16)

Mr. Comey also did not comment on the built-in microphone on every laptop, which is presumably as easy for third parties (or even the government??) to access as the webcams on laptops have proven to be. Hillary’s emails never got into our enemy’s hands, though. Trust the Government.

This story will be updated!

Thanks to our sources:

http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/303333-new-clinton-emails-discovered-in-weiner-investigation-report

https://www.yahoo.com/news/fbi-director-suggests-taping-over-personal-webcams-152813879.html