Thursday, June 15, 2017

Even If Comey Quoted Trump Accurately, That Would Not Be Obstruction of the Flynn Investigation

RUSH: To the next little expose here of the Washington Post story: “Special Counsel Investigating Trump for Possible Obstruction of Justice, Officials Say.”
There are four writers on this story. By the way, have you noticed that in all of these Trump stories — New York Times, Washington Post — at least three or four writers? Why do you think that is? Well, it’s obviously to provide cover. Hard to go after four people. It’s obviously to provide all of them cover. What do you need four people to report a leak? A leak that obviously came from Mueller’s staff.
By the way, about that. We’re told that, I’m sure you’ve heard, that Robert Mueller, why, there’s no one with a finer reputation. Same thing they told us about Comey. No one more highly respected in Washington than Bob Mueller. Why, Bob Mueller has been everywhere and done it all. He’s been an FBI director himself. He’s been an independent counsel. He’s been a lawyer, he’s been a lot. Bob Mueller is impeccable. Bob Mueller, you can’t touch his reputation, it is clean and pure as the wind-driven.
Same thing they said about Comey. And they also said Bob Mueller doesn’t play these snake in the grass games. Bob Mueller is not a leaker. Bob Mueller doesn’t do any of these typical Washington — he plays it close to the vest. He plays it down the middle. He’s Mr. Integrity. And yet before he even gets going, we’ve got a leak from this highly respected, deeply devoted public servant.
Four people at Washington Post. Remember, one of the writers, Adam Entous, was on CNN last night warning them it could be nothing, just like all of the leaks on the collusion story added up to what? Nothing. Every one of them added up to nothing. So big was the nothing that they’ve dropped the collusion case and they’ve moved on to obstruction. And so Toobin is salivating last night on CNN. David “Rodham” Gergen’s tongue is on the floor.
They’re all salivating. Anderson Cooper can basically barely keep the smile off his face. And then they get this Post writer on. “I want to caution everybody here, this may not lead to anything.” Why did you publish it? So let’s examine what actually is said to have happened here. I’m holding in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers an advanced copy of a column that will be published later today at National Review Online written by Andrew McCarthy of the McCarthy brothers of New Jersey. And this is powerful in its simple logic.
It is a column that asks simple, logical questions. The title of the piece as it is now — I don’t know if this will be the title when it’s published later today: “Can You Obstruct a Fraud? — On March 30, 2017, by his own account, then-FBI director James Comey told President Donald Trump that Trump himself was not under investigation — the third time he had given him that assurance.” Once in January, once in February, and once on March 30th. Three different times. The most recent time that Comey assured Trump he wasn’t under investigation, March 30th. “In fact, Comey told Trump that he had just assured members of Congress that Trump was not a suspect under investigation.”
So all the way through April and all the way through May, Pelosi, Feinstein, Schumer, Pencil Neck Schiff, they all knew that Trump was not a target, he was not a suspect. Comey told them all. And yet they continue to conduct hearings on Trump’s possible collusion with Russia, they continued to speak to the media about it. Trump was going nuts. He wanted Comey to say publicly what he had told him privately, and Comey wouldn’t do it.
There’s a parallel, if I may make a brief departure. Do you remember a controversial item back in the beginning days of the regime, the administration? Reince Priebus claimed that he was in his office and the number two at the FBI, Andrew McCabe, dropped by, and Priebus said that McCabe told him (paraphrasing), “Look, Reince, we know that all this stuff in the paper about Trump and collusion, we know it’s BS. We know these are links and nothing there.” And Priebus said, “What good does that do us?”
And the news leaked out that Priebus was leaning on McCabe to go public and assure everybody they weren’t under investigation. And I talked to Priebus, and he said it’s the exact opposite. I was minding my own business in my office and McCabe walks in and tells me this and then I said, “What can we do with this?” And it was clear, we couldn’t say it, we couldn’t use it. It been told to us privately. But the story was that Priebus had gone to the FBI and demanded that they go public with the fact that all this stuff in the paper, these leaks from the deep state, none of ’em were true, and the FBI knew it.
Same thing here. Comey tells Trump three different times, most recently March 30th, “You’re not a suspect.” He then tells Congress and everybody. The media therefore knew because if Congress knew and the FBI knew and the leakers knew, then the media knew. And yet everybody pretended that Trump was still a suspect. And Trump is understandably whisky tango foxtrot. “Why doesn’t somebody go public with this? And can we move on here? This is becoming a problem for me moving my agenda forward.” And nobody would go public with it. Understandably so. The purpose was not to enable Trump to do anything positive or good.
So think about that. Comey told Trump March 30th that he had just told Congress Trump was not a suspect. So Trump sits in the White House knowing that everybody involved knows he’s not a suspect. Yet he turns on TV and watches ’em keep talking about him as a suspect and how we need to keep going, find even more evidence. Well, this was six weeks after — Folks, this is so crucial here to understanding Mueller’s leak and case.
March 30th, when Comey tells Trump he is not a suspect, that is six weeks, that is a month-and-a-half after Comey’s Oval Office meeting with Trump “during which Comey alleges that Trump told him, ‘I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.’ Flynn, of course, is Michael Flynn, the close Trump campaign adviser and original Trump national-security adviser, whom Trump, with pained reluctance, had fired just the day before.”
But the importance is the timeline here. Six weeks after the Oval Office meeting where Comey says, he alleges that Trump asked him to let this Flynn thing go. Six weeks after that Comey assures Trump he’s not a suspect. And yet that alleged conversation forms the basis of this obstruction. Trump’s told he’s not a suspect. Six weeks after — this includes not just collusion, but Trump has told Comey, allegedly, asked Comey, “Let this Flynn thing go.” Six weeks after that Comey tells him, “You’re not a suspect.” Now we’ve got the special counsel looking into that as obstruction.
RUSH: By the way, the famous McCarthy brothers are actually from the Bronx. One of them has defected to New Jersey, but it’s the famous McCarthy — I’m sure you in the Bronx know exactly who it is to whom I refer. Now, six weeks after Comey tells Trump in the Oval Office that he’s not a suspect is when Trump allegedly said to Comey, “I hope you can let Flynn go.” Six weeks after that happens, Comey says, “You’re not a suspect” for the third time.
Now, as Andy writes here, “Most of the time, when public officials obstruct an investigation, there is a certain obsessiveness about it.” It’s a big deal. If they’re actually doing it, they’re not doing it halfheartedly, they’re not making calls once or twice a week. They’re on the case every day. It’s that important. They’re obsessive about it.
“Because, in the usual situation, the official has been paid off, or the official is worried that the subject of the investigation will inculpate the official if the investigation is allowed to continue.” Usually, obstruction, you’re asking somebody to shut it down, and until it’s shut down you remain obsessive about getting it shut down.
Trump was not obsessive. The thing to notice here is that Trump never did it again. After the Oval Office meeting six weeks prior to March 30th, when Comey alleges that Trump asked him to let the Flynn thing go, that was the only time Trump brought it up. That was on Valentine’s Day, February 14th. After Comey’s description of that encounter, the word “Flynn” never appears again in any Comey written testimony. The only time Comey mentions Flynn is referring to that meeting on February 14th when Trump supposedly said to Comey, “Let it go.”
Now, who was Flynn, in Trump’s eyes? He is a guy that was a devoted and loyal supporter. He was a combat veteran who had served the country with distinction for over 30 years, who had not done anything wrong by speaking to the Russian ambassador as part of the Trump transition. As far as Trump’s concern, no crime’s been committed here. This is what people in Flynn’s position would do during a transition.
Despite all that, Flynn had been chosen as the guy to take the heat. Flynn was gonna be the fall guy. The FBI, Comey had to get somebody. “Flynn had just been cashiered in humiliating fashion.” And Trump is the one who did it. Trump had fired him, and he was upset about it. And that’s why common sense would tell you he was lobbying Comey on Flynn’s behalf. He felt bad about what he had been forced to do to Flynn. Flynn was one of the first original eager beaver supporters. He spoke at the convention. He was a diehard Trump supporter. Trump ends up firing the guy. Trump’s not excited about it. So that’s why obviously he is asking Comey, “Come on. Look at all the guy’s done. This is nothing here. You can find a way to let it go.”
“It was an exercise in weighing the merits of further investigation and prosecution that FBI agents and federal prosecutors do hundreds of times a day, throughout the country. That matters because, as their superior and as the constitutional official whose power these subordinates exercise, Trump has as much authority to do this weighing as did Comey.”
Trump could do this. He runs the executive branch. Comey works for Trump, not the other way around. It was perfectly fine and nobody thought a thing about it at the time until the collusion thing appears to fall apart. And now they’re trying to go back and make this the centerpiece of a newly created obstruction investigation. And it stinks. Comey didn’t report this, didn’t say he was deeply concerned about it at the time. Only when it became convenient did he do so.
RUSH: Now, this next thing is important. Comey has revised his opinion on this event. He now says, after he was fired by Trump, he thinks that Trump was ordering him to drop the Flynn investigation. When we get back here, I’m gonna try to demonstrate using the English language that that did not happen.
RUSH: I want to conclude here the analysis of this so-called fraud or obstruction against Donald Trump, ’cause, folks, it is as flimsy as everything else in this has been. If you’re just joining us, to review, Washington Post big story yesterday that swept the shooting story off the front pages of its newspaper, that the independent counsel, special counsel Robert Mueller — and you can’t criticize him because he is the epitome of integrity and fairness, and he’s got a reputation that one must not assail.
His group made up largely of Democrat donors and Obama and Hillary supporters — those are the lawyers he’s hired — leaked to the Washington Post that they now have the president under criminal investigation. James Comey told Trump three times he was not under investigation, that he was not a suspect in the collusion business. The key thing is six weeks before March 30th, Valentine’s Day, James Comey alleges that Donald Trump said, “I hope you can see your way to letting this Flynn thing go.” Trump denies he said it, by the way. But Comey says he did. Comey says, “I hope you can see your way.”
Six weeks after that, Comey said for the third time, Trump’s not a suspect. So at the time Trump made the statement that Comey alleges he made, Comey didn’t think it was obstruction. He didn’t run out of the Oval Office, start running to the Justice Department. He didn’t call his best buddy, Bob Mueller. He didn’t run around, “Trump just tried to obstruct my investigation. Did you know that? He just told me to let the investigation go. He can’t do that. I’m the FBI director. He’s only president.”
He didn’t tell that to anybody. He didn’t complain. He didn’t whine. He just furthermore told Congress six weeks later that Trump was not a suspect, six weeks after this alleged obstruction took place. It was later that the FBI director revised his take on this episode. After Trump fired Comey, Comey said, “You know what? As I think about that dinner on Valentine’s night, I think Trump was ordering me to drop the Flynn investigation.”
This is very important. We’re getting here to the nub of this. We’ve already gotten to one nub. We’re getting to another one here. At the time when Trump’s allegedly saying to Comey, “Let it go, let the Flynn thing go,” Comey thought nothing of it. He thought so little of it that six weeks later he told Trump again, and Congress, that Trump’s not a suspect. So, after that, Trump fires Comey. Comey says, “You know what? I just got fired. I’m rethinking what Trump said to me on Valentine’s night.”
And he did. He revised his take on this and is now telling everybody that he’s convinced now that Trump was actually ordering him to drop the Flynn investigation. And that’s why we have an obstruction investigation now. But Trump did not issue such an order. If Trump had ordered it dropped, it would be dropped, folks. Trump runs the executive branch. If he wants this thing dropped, it would be dropped. And if he wanted it dropped he would mentioned it more than once.
If he was ordering Comey to let it go, he would have followed through until Comey did it. And he would have fired Comey a lot sooner than he did, if he had ordered Comey to drop it and Comey had not done so. Now, by Comey’s own account, “the words Trump used left the decision about pursuing Flynn to Comey’s discretion,” which I want to get to here in a minute. Even though Trump acknowledges that it was Comey’s decision to make, Trump had the legitimate constitutional authority to order Comey to close that case.
“At the time these events actually happened, Comey took no action consistent with someone who understood himself to be under a directive by the president of the United States. He and the FBI continued the investigation.” Because at the time Comey didn’t think he was being ordered. Only after he got fired did he revise his take on it.
Now, let’s look at the words. I need to point out here that Trump has denied that he said this at all. But we’re gonna look at this through the hypothetical that he did say it, ’cause I can still make the case that Trump using the words Comey alleges he heard. The actual words that Comey claimed Trump said were: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” That’s what Comey says Trump said, and at the time he didn’t think anything of it. Only after he got fired, “You know what? I think I was being ordered. I think my investigation was being tampered with. I think my investigation was being obstructed,” after he gets fired.
Again a reminder, Trump denies that he said this. But let’s parse what Trump said. “I hope you can see your way clear.” By the way, a senator made this point. Hope is not ordering somebody. “Yeah, yeah, I hope you’ll let the investigation go.” That’s not an order. “I hope you can see your way clear,” not only is it not an order, it acknowledges something. With Trump allegedly saying “I hope you can see your way clear” acknowledges the authority for the decision is Comey’s.
You have in a room the president and the FBI director talking about the Flynn investigation. The president of the United States, who can order it shut down if he wants to, instead defers to Comey’s judgment and authority and says, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.” “I hope you can.” “I hope you can.”
If he said this, he denies it, but if he said it he is putting himself in a deferential position. He is deferring to the judgment of his FBI director here. He’s expressing an opinion, but he’s deferring the decision to Comey. He clearly isn’t ordering Comey to do anything. In other words, what Trump was saying is, “It’s your call. I’m telling you what I hope you do, but it’s your call.” If there had been an order, Trump would have followed it up, because Comey didn’t let it go, and if Trump had meant for it to be let go, Trump would be steaming.
There was also a tweet by the eldest Trump son — that would be Donald Jr. — who pointed out, “Believe me, everyone who knows my father knows that when he’s giving you an order, there is no doubt about it.” And as the eldest son, I think Trump Jr. would know whether he’s being ordered to do something or whether his dad’s hoping he does something. But Trump Jr. says, “There’s no ambiguity when my dad orders you to do something.”
This flimsy rigmarole is now what has formed the basis of the next end-of-the-world investigation: “Donald Trump, the president of the United States, obstructed justice.” And they’re gonna now start saying, “This is Nixonian. This is the cover-up. This is what got Nixon. Trump tried to cover it up. He wanted to make sure that nobody found out what Flynn was doing, and he ordered –” This is so bogus. This is so bogus.
You know, Trump could still do some things. He could tell the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to limit his investigation to actually felonies. “Don’t mess around here with these process crimes. I don’t care about ’em. If somebody committed a felony, I want to know about it, but ignore this process stuff, we want to get to the bottom of it.” He can do whatever he wants here. He runs the executive branch. Now, politically he may not be able to do so, but I don’t think politics ought to stop him.
This is it, folks. This is make-or-break. They’re trying to take Donald Trump out here. They’re trying to end his presidency and the effectiveness of it. They are trying to bring him to a screeching halt. This is not the time to play by the rules. They aren’t. And, by the way, Trump wouldn’t be breaking the rules. He’d be breaking political protocol. “You’re not supposed to taunt your way into telling the independent counsel what he can or can’t do.” But he clearly can, if he can fire him, he can direct his investigation.
Now, he can’t make him do criminal things. He can’t make him ignore criminal things. That’s what the pardon is for. And again, I want to point out that I think there’s a real conflict here that’s not Trump, it’s Mueller. Mueller and Comey, I mean, the news has been filled with stories about how much they like each other and how closely they’ve worked together and how much they respect each other and how there’s a father-son mentor-apprentice kind of relationship between them. That Mueller has provided countenance and guidance.
Well, Comey is gonna be a central figure in this. Comey is the central figure. It’s Comey changing his interpretation of what Trump said that converts this from a nothing burger to a case of obstruction. So it’s clear to me, Trump didn’t obstruct anything. He didn’t follow up on Comey and make him shut it down. He didn’t obstruct anything.
Did Comey, by the way, report any of this horrible Trump behavior to anybody? For example, did he report it to Congress? And he’s had numerous appearances before various committees where he’s testified. Did he say, did he blow the whistle per se on Trump for trying to interfere in his precious investigation? He didn’t. In fact, he did just the exact opposite.
“On March 20, over a month after the Flynn conversation, Comey gave his stunning congressional testimony, pronouncing publicly that the FBI was conducting a counterintelligence probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and that the probe included scrutinizing both the ties of Trump associates to the Putin regime and ‘any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian efforts.’ The FBI, he darkly added, would make ‘an assessment of whether any crimes were committed.'”
This led the media to assume the FBI director had confirmed the president was a suspect. It alarmed lawmakers. But at this time Comey had already told everybody Trump was not a suspect. Trump was not a suspect. Comey had told Congress this in March. Everybody acted on it as though they didn’t know it for the next two months. And Comey repeatedly said under oath that he had found no evidence that the Russians had obstructed anything or affected the outcome of the election.
So, given that no one who was aware of the facts believed that Trump had committed obstruction at the time the conduct occurred, why is Trump under investigation for obstruction now? When he had the Flynn conversation, “Gee, I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go,” if it wasn’t obstruction then, if Comey didn’t report it, if he didn’t whistle blow it, if he didn’t act concerned, if he didn’t give it a second thought, why, after he got fired, did he all of a sudden think that he was being ordered to?
This Valentine’s dinner, February 14th, a lot of people in the aftermath knew what had happened at this dinner. A lot of people knew that Trump was not a suspect. And so now all that’s out the window. The collusion case has fallen apart. They have to go somewhere ’cause they’ve got multiple investigations going. And you know how embarrassing it would be for Comey to have to stand up there and say or whoever else, “Sorry. Nothing to see here. Sorry. We didn’t find anything.”
You think it’s dangerous to be on the streets with Democrats running around now? Wait until that day comes, if they ever announce, “Nothing to see here. Trump didn’t collude and there’s no obstruction.” You don’t want to be anywhere near any mainstream Democrats on that day. They can’t afford to announce that, especially after what happened in Alexandria yesterday. And they know it. But the purpose of the investigation is not to exonerate. It is to find guilt. And they’re not gonna stop, folks, ’til they think they can make the case.
RUSH: This is Mark in Phoenix. Great to have you, sir. What’s up?
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Mega dittos from Arizona. The point I wanted to bring up is I think that the FBI is no longer a law enforcement organization, but is now driven by ideology. I come to this, my reasoning is that the — are you still there, Rush?
RUSH: Yeah. I’m here. I’m listening.
CALLER: Okay. My reasoning is that of course this leak comes out about this obstruction of justice the same day there’s a shooting of Republican congressmen, FBI hasn’t a clue as to what could possibly be the motive behind that, just like a while back you had a skit where there was these Muslim individuals with Muslim names and of course they couldn’t figure out why anything happened there. I think that was a couple years ago. And also now Comey’s buddy is there, they don’t want to investigate any leaks. They don’t want to prosecute Clinton. They don’t want to prosecute Lynch. All these things just make them complicit in the effort to destroy Trump.
RUSH: Yeah. I’ve thought about this business of not investigating leaks, and it finally hit me that one of the reasons why — Comey was never interested in investigating — I know it frustrated Trump because that’s where real felonies have taken place, leaking this kind of data, even if they’re making it up, is felonious. That’s where real crimes have taken place. And we now know there were no crimes of collusion. But what if the reason it wasn’t pursued is because Comey was one of them?
CALLER: Also, Comey’s gonna surround himself with other ideologues.
RUSH: That’s hard not to do in Washington these days, unfortunately. But, look, I get your point. We have this image of the FBI. It’s part of the justice system. And the hope is that the people working in there are able to set aside ideological preferences on personal policy and simply focus on facts. We expect journalists to do it, too, but I frankly think it’s impossible if you’re really, really wound up and care about things. But justice is a whole different thing ’cause there’s the rule of law you’re dealing with here, plus statutory law that’s quite clear in many cases whether crimes have been committed or not, but burden of proof is always on the prosecution, people making charges.
You’re right, people are beginning to doubt the legitimacy. You know, some people that used to work in the FBI are too. People that I know used to work at the FBI were the kind of people you’re talking about. And they’re concerned. I mean, the FBI director, there hasn’t been anybody like Comey doing this stuff, making himself so publicly visible and making himself the focus of so many things the FBI’s involved in since Hoover. Most FBI directors, you never even see ’em until one of them gets fired. And Comey has been positioning himself here to be seen as a coequal of the president, the executive branch, in the Trump administration.
RUSH: Kathryn, Providence, Rhode Island. Welcome. It’s great to have you.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Glad to be on your show. I wanted to tell you, first of all, to take heart because for the first time, the Providence Journal, which I read every day here in Providence, Rhode Island, has editorially agreed with you by saying, quote, “A charge that Mr. Trump conspired with Russians to swing the election is still front and center in Washington, though there was no apparent evidence of it after many months, drowning out discussions of the nation’s many serious problems.”
RUSH: When did this get published?
CALLER: Today.
RUSH: Today. So the Providence, Rhode Island, is it the Journal?
CALLER: Yes, the Providence Journal.
RUSH: The Providence Journal today says, finally after all this time, there’s nothing there to the Russian —
CALLER: Exactly. It is buried in kind of a long editorial about the shooting and how sad it was and what’s wrong with the country.
RUSH: Wait, wait. It’s an editorial, not a news story?
CALLER: It’s an editorial called, “An Attack On All Americans.”
RUSH: What’s the difference anymore. What’s an attack on all Americans?
CALLER: They’re talking about yesterday’s shooting.
RUSH: No, it wasn’t. It was an attack on Steve Scalise and three or four. It was not an attack on all — that kind of language — I’ve never — these people trying to wax eloquent — it was an attack on all — no. We’re not all in the hospital.
CALLER: Yeah, I wondered why do they have to play baseball? Why can’t they just stay in the domed building and make laws for us?
RUSH: Well, because they were out there practicing bipartisanship for the charity fundraising baseball —
CALLER: Yeah, they were, they were. But I wanted to say that when you get to the front page, however, it’s as you said with the Washington Post, the big story is the Trump part of probe, is from the Washington Post, and then lower down there’s a thing about the baseball game and all that.
RUSH: Right.
CALLER: And when they describe that Trump is part of the probe, they can completely reject what they’ve done editorially because they say the Republican-led Senate votes decisively to punish Moscow for interfering in the 26th election. So they don’t say alleged and that goes on.
RUSH: I hadn’t brought that up. When I saw that honestly I said, what are these clowns doing?
CALLER: Yeah, are they journalists or what?
RUSH: No, I’m talking about Congress, the Senate. The Republicans are joining with the Democrats in furthering this falsehood that there was collusion and that the Russians need to be punished. There wasn’t any collusion. Well, I guess not. It could be — I discussed this at great length yesterday — that everybody, everybody believes the Russians affected the election somehow.
That was my big deal yesterday, how astounded I was. I ran across a blog post, and the blog post was, what do we do if there’s nothing to this story? Meaning, Trump and his people colluded with Putin and his people to screw Hillary out of the White House, the election? I don’t want to relieve that, folks. I made the point on it yesterday. I’m struck by how many people still give credence and credibility to the mainstream media, which has demonstrated they don’t deserve that kind of benefit of the doubt anymore.
The mainstream media needs to be suspected on everything they write. We need to doubt it and then endeavor to prove it to ourselves. We can no longer take it on faith that what we’re reading, particularly about stories like this involving Trump, are just automatically true. And I guess I was just astounded yesterday that there isn’t even the doubt. That if the Post and if the precious New York Times are out there saying that there any are members of the Trump team that may have colluded, even though there’s no evidence, that we’ve got to stop and consider the possibility.
So in effect we’ve got to stop and join forces with the mainstream media here until we can demonstrate otherwise. And I think they haven’t earned this blanket acceptance of what they report anymore. I think they’ve blown that. So the Senate tightening sanctions, ramping up sanctions on the Russians, was in response not to the collusion with Trump, but it furthers the idea that the Russians attempted or succeeded. If we’re gonna sanction them, if we’re gonna increase the sanctions, then obviously the belief is that the Russians tampered with the election.
And, folks, there still isn’t any evidence of it. It’s just a bunch of wild allegations. It’s a sore point with me.

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