FBI Delayed Telling the Gang of Four about Trump-Related Investigation Because It Is So Serious

As every newspaper in town has reported, at today’s hearing into Russia’s hack of the DNC, Jim Comey confirmed that the FBI has a counterintelligence investigation into the hack that includes whether Trump’s associates coordinated with Russian actors. Along the way, Comey refused to join in James Clapper’s statement that there was no evidence of collusion between Trump’s aides and Russia. When the now retired Director of National Intelligence said that, Clapper had emphasized that his statement only extended through the end of his service, January 20; he warned that some evidence may have been discovered after that.

A far more telling detail came close to the end of the hearing, during NY Congresswoman Elise Stefanik’s questioning. She started by asking what typical protocols were for informing the DNI, the White House, and senior Congressional leadership about counterintelligence investigations.

Stefanik: My first set of questions are directed at Director Comey. Broadly, when the FBI has any open counterintelligence investigation, what are the typical protocols or procedures for notifying the DNI, the White House, and senior congressional leadership?

Comey: There is a practice of a quarterly briefing on sensitive cases to the Chair and Ranking of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. The reason I hesitate is, thanks to feedback we’ve gotten, we’re trying to make it better. And that involves a briefing briefing the Department of Justice, I believe the DNI, and the — some portion of the National Security Council at the White House. We brief them before Congress is briefed.

Stefanik: So it’s quarterly for all three, then, senior congressional leadership, the White House, and the DNI?

Comey: I think that’s right. Now that’s by practice, not by rule or by written policy. Which is why, thanks to the Chair and Ranking giving us feedback, we’re trying to tweak it in certain ways.

Note that point: the practice has been that FBI won’t brief the Gang of Four until after they’ve briefed DOJ, the DNI, and the White House. Stefanik goes on to ask why, if FBI normally briefs CI investigations quarterly, why FBI didn’t brief the Gang of Four before the last month, at least seven months after the investigation started. Comey explains they delayed because of the sensitivity of the investigation.

Stefanik: So since in your opening statement you confirmed that there is a counterintelligence investigation currently open and you also referenced that it started in July, when did  you notify the DNI, the White House, or senior Congressional leadership?

Comey: Congressional leadership, sometime recently — they were briefed on the nature of the investigation and some details, as I said. Obviously the Department of Justice must have been aware of it all along. The DNI … I don’t know what the DNI’s knowledge of it was, because we didn’t have a DNI until Mr. Coats took office and I briefed him his first morning in office.

Stefanik: So just to drill down on this, if the open investigation began in July, and the briefing of Congressional leadership only occurred recently, why was there no notification prior to the recent — the past month.

Comey: I think our decision was it was a matter of such sensitivity that we wouldn’t include it in the quarterly briefings.

Stefanik: So when you state “our decision,” is that your decision, is it usually your decision what gets briefed in those quarterly updates?

Comey: No. It’s usually the decision of the head of our counterintelligence division.

Stefanik: And just again, to get the details on the record, why was the decision not to brief senior congressional leadership until recently, when the investigation had been open since July, a very serious investigation. Why was that decision made to wait months?

Comey: Because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Stefanik then got Comey to reconfirm what the IC report says: that Russia had hacked numerous entities, he would later say over a thousand, including Republican targets.

Stefanik then turned to the Yahoo investigation. She asked whether the FSB officers involved conducted the hack for intelligence purposes — a question Comey refused to answer. He also refused to answer what the FSB did with the information stolen.

Stefanik: Taking a further step back of what’s been in the news recently and I’m referring to the Yahoo hack, the Yahoo data breach, last week the Department of Justice announced it was charging hackers with ties to the FSB in the 2014 data breach. Was this hack done, to your knowledge, for intelligence purposes?

Comey: I can’t say in this forum.

Stefanik: Press reporting indicates the Yahoo hack targeted journalists, dissidents and government officials. Do you know what the FSB did with the information they obtained?

Comey: Same answer.

Stefanik: Okay, I understand that.

This is important for a number of reasons, including the evidence that the FSB was hiding their hacking from others in Russia.

Stefanik then turned to the sanctions, asking if Comey had any insight into how the Obama Administration chose who got sanctioned in December — which included Alexsey Belan but not the FSB officers involved (one of whom, Dmitry Dokuchaev, was already under arrest for treason by the time of the sanctions).

Stefanik: How did the Administration determine who to sanction as part of the election hacking? How familiar are [] with that decision process and how is that determination made?

Comey: I don’t know. I’m not familiar with the decision-making process. The FBI is a factual input but I don’t recall — I don’t have any personal knowledge about how the decisions were made about who to sanction.

Again, her interest in this is significant — I’ll explain why in a follow-up.

Stefanik then asked what the intelligence agencies would do going forward to keep entities safe from Russian hacking. As part of the response, Mike Rogers revealed (unsurprisingly) that NSA first learned of FSB’s hacking of those many targets in the summer of 2015.

Finally, Stefanik returned to her original point, when Congress gets briefed on CI investigations. Comey’s response was remarkable.

Stefanik: It seems to me, in my first line of questioning, the more serious a counterintelligence investigation is, that would seem to trigger the need to update not just the White House, the DNI, but also senior congressional leadership. And you stated it was due to the severity. I think moving forward, it seems the most severe and serious investigations should be notified to senior congressional leadership. And with that thanks for your lenience, Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

Comey could have been done with Stefanik yielding back. But instead, he interrupted, and suggested part of the delay had to do with the practice of briefing within the Executive Branch NSC before briefing Congress.

Comey: That’s good feedback, Ms. Stefanik, the challenge for is, sometimes we want to keep it tight within the executive branch, and if we’re going to go brief congressional leaders, the practice has been then we brief inside the executive branch, and so we have to try to figure out how to navigate that in a good way.

Which seems to suggest one reason why the FBI delayed briefing the Gang of Four (presumably, this is the Gang of Eight) is because they couldn’t brief all Executive Branch people the White House, and so couldn’t brief Congress without first having briefed the White House.

Which would suggest Mike Flynn may be a very central figure in this investigation.

Update: I’ve corrected my last observation to match Comey’s testimony that the delay had to do with keeping things on a close hold within the Executive Branch. That may be nothing, it may reflect the delay on confirming Dan Coats, it may be Flynn (if you normally brief the NSC, after all the National Security Advisor would be among the first to be briefed), but it also could be Jeff Sessions.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

59 replies
  1. klynn says:

    I suspect it may be more than just Flynn. Glad you caught this. I figured too many had tuned out by this point in the hearing. Plus, how does briefing “all Executive Branch” happen if there is the concern of a compromise within the gates?

    • harpie says:

      Hi, klynn, wrt: “more than just Flynn”, have you seen this from McClatchy?:
      FBI’s Russian-influence probe includes a look at far-right news sites 3/20/17 5:05pm http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article139695453.html
       

      […] Breitbart, which has drawn criticism for pursuing a white nationalist agenda, was formerly led by Stephen Bannon, who became chief executive officer of Trump’s election campaign last August and now serves as Trump’s strategic adviser in the White House. The news site’s former national security editor, Sebastian Gorka, was a national security adviser to Trump’s campaign and presidential transition team. He now works as a key Trump counterterrorism adviser. […]

      • klynn says:

        Re the dates above: Nunes slipped this AM that there was one person still under investigation in the WH. This may or may not be related to questioning the dates.

  2. gezzerx says:

    Because it was so serious, it should have been reported immediately it is not the responsibility of government bureaucrats to make such decisions but elected officials .  Fire the incompetent fools !

  3. lefty665 says:

    There would have been at least two quarterly cycles between last July and the end of the year. They did not brief Congress because?  Perhaps they did not want to let the Repubs know the FBI was investigating their presidential campaign. OTOH, the Dem administration clearly knew what was going on. Is there any reason to think Hillary did not?

    Seems Stefanik raised as many questions as she got answered. My hat’s off to her and to EW for shining a light on the issue.

     

  4. LeMoyne says:

    This really makes my day.
    Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.) was head of the DIA until he was fired. I understand that firing was based (at least in part) on his unreliability. To think that the DIA (etc.) would not keep a very close watch on Flynn, especially with his visits to Russia, is to think the IC completely incompetent. Two hops from Flynn would cover the Trump organization well enough to show it meets the functional definition of a foreign agent: hundreds of millions of dollars from foreign governments… including fronts for the FSB.
    A serious counter intelligence investigation will always be very closely held. It also won’t be easy and will take some time if it has the reach I expect. In a case like this, the absence of public evidence is in no way the evidence of an absence of an investigation. I was expecting a long period of parallel construction through leaks and the press. Now things might be about to accelerate a bit. The needle appears to be moving away from ‘blow over’ and towards ‘blow up’. [: .In.Your.Face.Republicans. :]

    • martin says:

      ‘blow up’. [: .In.Your.Face.Republicans. :]

      I’d give up my SS for a year to see Miller arrested. 2 years for Bannon, 3 years for Sessions, and the rest of my life for Trump.

    • lefty665 says:

      Y’all might want to hold your horses for a bit. Look at what removing Trump gets you. The line of succession is : Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Orrin Hatch, Rex Tillerson, Steven Mnuchin… It goes through Ben Carson and Rick Perry, and you know what, it never gets to Hillary. Do you really like any of those guys any better than Trump? Are you sure?

      There are a lot of good reasons not to like Trump, but better be careful what you wish for. Like the old joke reminds us, “Life was terrible, but I cheered myself up by thinking ‘Things could be worse’… and pretty soon they were.”

        • RUKidding says:

          No love lost on my part vis Trump, but at this stage, I’d rather cast my lot with Trump than anyone else who would succeed him, should Trump go away in one fashion or another.  lefty665 gives a good look at the list of who would come next.  Mike Pence?  I’d rather go with Trump.  Paul Ryan?  OMG! And so on down the line, as lefty sez, to Rick Perry with the smartie glasses.

          I don’t particularly want Hillary either.  In fact, the only one I’d prefer would be Sanders, and sadly, he’s not on anyone’s list.

          • John Casper says:

            RUKidding,

            Again, very well said. Thank you.

            IMHO, unless Trump caves on TPP, or finds a way to hide it’s being implemented, the House impeaches him and the Senate convicts.

      • jerryy says:

        Indiana survived Mike Pence. I know this to be true, I rode by there just a day or two ago and it is still there.

        This is that ‘lesser of evils choice’ again. They are all bad, but getting rid of them means you have to start somewhere … now if the investigations lead to evidence that should cause overturning the election (ahh, yeah I know) then all of those cabinet members in the line of succession, executive orders and whatnot have cause to go away as well. Which still leaves Paul Ryan and Orrin Hatch, but again ‘gotta start somewhere and if you give up before you start …

        • lefty665 says:

          I didn’t even get to DeVos and some of the other sweethearts in line. I don’t think any of those evils are lesser. No, it’s not a question of picking the lesser evil.  What I am suggesting is that exercising a little discretion before running Trump out of office. What will that get you? Will removing Trump improve anything? The answer looks like ‘no’.

           

          • jerryy says:

            One less evil to deal with is an improvement. Break the chain and you have more ways available to get the rest of the wall to crumble. The party as a whole is publicly joined at the hip, with so little daylight between them, their position is very precarious and any remining evils could be set off to the side and contained until they too are removed.

            • lefty665 says:

              Meet the new evil, same as the old evil.  The chain of succession is constitutional, are you suggesting breaking that?

              The Repubs position is only precarious if there is an alternative, and the Dems have shown no sign, nada, zip of providing one. Until Dems quit their tantruming and come to grips with the reality that their failures in ’16, and ’14, and ’10, and before were their own and not visited upon them by awful outside forces they will not contain or remove remaining evils.  Neo Liberalism, Neo Conservative warmongering, and right wing DLC Repub wannabes as drivers of the Dem party have failed profoundly. We can thank the fat cat, neo lib, Dem elites for Trump, no matter how hard they try to displace blame to Comey and the Russians. That the same fat cat elites are still in control of the Dem party means no lessons have, or will be, learned from failure. We will get more of the same.

              You’ve wasted 1/3 of a year already. ’18 is fast approaching, ’21 is redistricting, and only 6 states have Dem Governors and Legislatures so the Repubs will stack the deck even more in their favor and lock Dems out for another decade.

              If you want change, suck it up, cut out the hysteria and rebuild a party based on its New Deal First Principles. Anything less guarantees more failure.

               

              • John Casper says:

                lefty665, so now you’re a “Hillaryphile?” You regret not supporting Sec. Clinton?

                What’s your plan in Virginia to “suck it up, cut out the hysteria, and rebuild a” state “party on its New Deal (sic)First (sic)Principles?”

                Please be specific.

                What’s your national plan to “suck it up, cut out the hysteria, and rebuild a party on its New Deal (sic)First (sic)Principles?”

                Please be specific.

                Are you a dues paying member of the Democratic party?

                Are you a dues paying member of the Green Party?

                Have you ever donated to this site?

                The “Repubs position” is precarious if they don’t deliver economic security to the 99%.

  5. Desider says:

    I’m hoping the UK money laundering/bank scandal gets wrapped into this.

    Trump’s favorite, Deutsche Bank that’s loaned him up to $3 billion over the years, was fined $630 million in January for not tracking tainted Russian money in London, New York and Moscow (along with surrogate zones in Moldova and Cyprus). Now 17 more banks in the UK are being questioned over $20 billion transferred.

    My biggest question (hope) is whether US Attorney Preet Bharara was fired not for investigating HHS nominee Tom Price’s investments, but for investigating the New York side of this Russian money laundering operation, potentially the big fish himself. In which case Trump’s “I’ve been tapped” worries might be much more serious.

    While entirely speculation and likely to be wrong, it would be fun if that quasi-mysterious Trump Russian bank server activity last summer were actually coordinating mirror trades as part of the laundering.

    • Desider says:

      Interesting – after writing this, I read Digby’sBob Cesca’s piece at Salon where he notes Nunes let slip out that 1 member of the Trump Administration is under investigation, and in speculating who it might be, she notes:

      One of the options could be Wilbur Ross, Trump’s 89-year-old newly confirmed secretary of commerce. We know that Ross was previously the vice chairman and 1.6-percent shareholder in the Bank of Cyprus, a sleazy money laundering outfit used by Russian oligarchs to funnel untold billions in cash. One of those oligarchs who washed his fortune through the Bank of Cyprus is Dmitry Rybolovlev, the “King of Fertilizer” in Russia, who also happened to purchase a ridiculously expensive property in Florida from Trump at a massive $60 million profit for the current president — in fact, it was the most expensive single home sale in the history of the United States.

      Make some more popcorn, it might get good. Americans understand bank scandals much better than political ones, especially as Donald “drains the swamp” by hiring 5 or 6 Goldman Sachs types for key positions.

  6. Arclight says:

    …I just love the double standard you liberal hacks on this thread perpetuate.  Only NOW you naïve idiots are outraged over the Trump administrations scandals, too bad you all weren’t equally outraged over morally corrupt and diabolical misdeeds excreted from the Obama/Clinton administration.  If you weren’t stupid, you’d understand that anything of substance would have manifested itself long before now.  The establishment has been trying to stew and cook Trumps ass since he was the nominee…an exercise in futility.

    This silly ass, three ring circus, donkey fuck masquerading as a congressional hearing has revealed nothing we didn’t already know.  Liberals like you are disgusting people, control freaks that actually believe your progressive utopia should replace the Constitution. You useful idiots have no idea what you’re buying into, because you’re just too stupid to understand.
    I compare a left wing liberal to that of a pig’s sphincter.

    • John Casper says:

      “…I just love the double standard you” wingnuts “perpetuate.  Only NOW you naïve idiots are outraged over the Trump administrations scandals, too bad you all weren’t equally outraged over morally corrupt and diabolical misdeeds excreted from the” Republican “enabled Obama/Clinton administration(sic).  If you weren’t stupid, you’d understand that anything of substance would have manifested itself long before now.  The establishment has been trying to stew and cook Trumps ass since he was the nominee…an exercise in futility.
      This silly ass, three ring circus, donkey fuck masquerading as a congressional hearing has revealed nothing we didn’t already know.” Wingnuts “like you are disgusting people, control freaks that actually believe your progressive utopia should replace the Constitution. You useful idiots have no idea what you’re buying into, because you’re just too stupid to understand.
      I compare a wingnut to that of a pig’s sphincter.”

      • John Casper says:

        Arclight,

        Last sentence of my 4:22 should not have included “wingnut” in quotes.

        Last year I donated more than $300 to this site. I’ll try to do better this year. Have you had a chance to donate?

    • John Casper says:

      Arclight,

      Sorry, above, I should have changed “progressive” to “regressive.”

      How did you become so familiar with a “pig’s sphincter?”

      Is your expertise limited to “sphincters” on livestock?”

    • RUKidding says:

      I think you missed a lot of the outrage here at Obama and Clinton, but it’s so much easier to just encapsulate everyone into simplistic labels while spewing invectives on the ‘Net.  Way to add to the conversation.

  7. lefty665 says:

    You might do better to be concerned with Deutsche’s exposure to derivatives, and that of the US too big to fail banks. It is worse than it was in ’08. Trump’s change of regime from Obama’s Citi mafia to Goldman is not likely to make much difference to the rest of us. Meet the new boss (Wall St, fat cat .1%), same as the old boss.

    It is simple, all 94 USAs get replaced when administrations change parties. Obama did it, so did Duhbya. Bharara was fired because he wanted publicity and did not have the good grace to resign as is the norm.

    The bank server nonsense is just that, nonsense. There is no mystery, quasi or otherwise. Read Marcy’s recent post: https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/03/18/after-three-suggestions-of-doctored-data-alfa-bank-claims-theyre-being-framed/   If that doesn’t do it for you, follow the links provided by qpl23 in the comments to that post. They dispel all doubt.

    • John Casper says:

      lefty665,

      You wrote, “Meet the new boss (Wall St, fat cat .1%), same as the old boss.”

      You’re withdrawing your support for President Trump and throwing it behind Vice-President Pence?

      On behalf of the 99.999% what’s your short and long term strategy?

  8. greengiant says:

    Lying Nunes, “one” under investigation at the Whitehouse interview was actually on Sunday, March 19th. Not covered by MSM or alt-right.
    http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/19/intel-committee-chair-a-white-house-official-is-under-investigation-or-surveillance/
    Everyone in congress or the executive are thieves or tools of thieves, let’s not delude ourselves. You don’t get to be a billionaire by playing nice. Look at the two Koch brothers, their own brother sued them for theft.
    I think Putin has won the lottery. The whole IC is caught between his stooge and revealing their hoover and past criminal activities.
    Lefty: I understand your hate on Hillary but she was a lot cheaper than Trump. Trump the populist is a pipe dream. The only enjoyment is to watch all his believers being ruined while they ignore it is happening to them.

    • lefty665 says:

      Not quite sure I understand “she was a lot cheaper”.  They were both horrid, but in different ways. Trump’s believers have been ruined for the better part of 40 years. When he trashes them yet again someone even less qualified will ride their anger into office next time.

  9. Desider says:

    [reply to Lefty]
    Note, I’m talking about potential of servers to coordinate automated mirrored trades – not that I have any proof for this, as I stated, but it’s still a different use case than that discussed in these articles.

    And one of the best ways to cover up a story is to have it investigated badly or misleadingly once, so that it’s never looked at seriously again – e.g. Bush’s guard duty. We call this “dodging the bullet” among other things.

    Re: Deutsche’s derivatives, et al, I don’t give a jolly goddamn – I care about getting rid of Trump. Everything else pales in comparison.

    • lefty665 says:

      Help please on your concerns about automated mirrored trades. Trump’s kids are going to mirror others, others are going to mirror them, or something else entirely?

      The bank logs were simple requests to identify a remote server, the equivalent of a reverse telephone lookup from a phone number. There were no communication with the remote computer,  just the lookup on the name server.  There are real things to worry about, not many indications this is one of them. It is more part of the hysteria the Dems are fomenting.

      You might be wise to “give a jolly goddamn” about derivatives in general and Deutsche Bank’s in particular.  Derivatives brought the world to its financial knees nine years ago and we have not fully recovered. A respect for history is prudent, especially when actions that brought calamity are being repeated. Here is a reference:  http://wallstreetonparade.com/2017/03/when-deutsche-bank-wobbles-wall-street-gets-shaky-knees/

  10. themgt says:

    What’s your reaction to Comey saying he thinks by fall, the Russians didn’t believe Trump had any chance to win and they just wanted to damage Hillary? Wouldn’t that throw cold water on the concept of collaboration / quid-pro-quos, or would the idea literally be they were all just trolling the election and then Trump won by accident?

  11. Avattoir says:

    It would surprise me not were we to learn Comey is an inveterate reader of le Carré, and an especial fan of his best-known novel:

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor

    Rich man Poor man Beggar man Thief

    We know who the entire second line describes. Soldier is now out, while Tailor (obvious choice) was out first, then Sailor (upon the Black Sea – except 2 of them). Tinker (also obvious) is still in.

    I expect Comey to favor himself in the role of Control. If all this gets to appointment of a special Smiley, who would be that now?

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Comey: I don’t know. I’m not familiar with the decision-making process. The FBI is a factual input but I don’t recall — I don’t have any personal knowledge about how the decisions were made about who to sanction.

        He was sorta telling the truth, but does not want to get pulled into the fire.

        First he uses the tried-and-true “I don’t recall” but changes to disavowing any “personal knowledge about how the decisions were made”.

        What he basically said is that he is quite aware of the process that happened, who was involved in the processs, but he was no longer in the room when the decision was made.

  12. person1597 says:

    This Priebus dust-up suggests some kind of WH briefing took place mid-February, just after Flynn resigns 2/13.  Today, post-Comey, it is news again.

    According to White House officials, Priebus spoke one-on-one with FBI assistant director Andrew McCabe on the morning of Feb. 15, when McCabe told Priebus that the story, published in the New York Times, wasn’t accurate. 

    The Feb 14 NYT article spilled the beans about TeamTrump’s RU associations.  Manafort’s mens rea is barely concealed at this point…

    “I have no idea what this is referring to. I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers, and I have never been involved with anything to do with the Russian government or the Putin administration or any other issues under investigation today.”

    Is it plausible for a CI roll-up to pronounce shock to the perps after a trial balloon goes out post Flynn?  Not likely!

    Why would Priebus get cookie jarred unless El Jefe (h/t Boo) Trumpenstates?

    Part of the grand plan?  Or just another high pressure day at the pig orifice?

    The squeeze … it burns!  Oh, wait…

    Asked about whether Priebus broke any rules, White House spokesman Michael Short said, “Your questions lack any basic knowledge about the issues at hand.”

    Do tell!

    ” And I think my country is in danger.”  “You say, “Why do I think it’s in danger?” and I say look at the record. Seven years of the [prior administration] and what’s happened? Six hundred million people lost to the Communists, and a war in Korea….

    Someone needs a little cocker spaniel named Checkers…

  13. person1597 says:

    Annnnd…   This just in from the Hill…

     
    Former Trump aide Manafort hires crisis communications firm

  14. person1597 says:

    Peas in a pod… CNN April 19, 2016…

    Late last month, Trump appointed veteran GOP strategist and lobbyist Paul Manafort — Stone’s longtime friend and business partner, dating back to the Reagan years — to lead his fight for delegates. Sources close to all three men say Stone played a role in that appointment, which gave him a new lifeline into Trump’s campaign.

    Then, on August 19, 2016, this…
    “This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign,” Trump said in a statement. “I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”

  15. John Casper says:

    @lefty665 at 2:34 a.m.

    You wrote ” I don’t think any of those evils are lesser.”

    Not what you said last month.

    “Trump seems to be making a few good appointments. Mattis at Defense is head and shoulders a better choice than Obama holding over Gates at the beginning or Carter at the end – bookends, and not so great in between either. McMaster as national security advisor is also arguably far better than Rice (either one). Gorsuch would never be my choice for the court, but he appears to be a decent human being and a big step up from Scalia. It will not be hard for Tillison to be a better Secretary of State than either of Obama’s choices. Trump can hardly make worse economic advisor choices than Summers, Geithner and the whole Rubin Citi crew, although he seems to be trying with the Goldman gang. The point being that not all of Trump’s choices are Bonkers Betsys, and in many ways (some better, some worse) this is just another presidential transition, the 43rd since Washington handed the reins to Adams.”

    https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/02/21/ask-uncle-ed-3a/#comment-711144

    Would you consider donating $10 to this site every time you use the same words–bonkers, hysteria…?

    • lefty665 says:

      That was a pretty nice ‘graph, nice to see it reprinted.  Nah, ‘ya gotta get the Dems to contribute for each hysterical squeal and a hundred bucks for a tantrum. EW would be flush.

      Got your twit race application in? Do you need help filling it out?

       

       

      • John Casper says:

        How many times have you filled out the “twit race application?”

        Do you need help learning how to not use up excess space after your comment and before the “Reply?”

  16. jerryy says:

    lefty665
    March 22, 2017 at 12:42 pm
    Meet the new evil, same as the old evil. The chain of succession is constitutional, are you suggesting breaking that? …

    “Do you remember, your President Nixon?
    “Do you remember, the bills you have to pay, for even yesterday?
    — David Bowie

    ‘chain’ is a metaphor, a figure of speech. Considering the context that should of been clear. This crew will fall together, because they are tied together too closely.

    The other parties can step up or fail as well. It is up to them to provide an appropriate response to the evil being removed.

    • lefty665 says:

      But the chain of succession is real. You going to impeach Pence after Trump, then Ryan, and Hatch after Ryan?  If you think that’s going to happen, please share some of what you’re smokin’.

      Nothing is going to change until the Dems get their heads out of their butts and provide an alternative, like the New Deal did in ’32. As one of the Dem aphorisms goes “Give voters a choice between a real Republican and an imitation Republican and they’ll choose the real Republican every time”.

  17. jerryy says:

    greengiant is correct. Looking back to the most recent example, President Nixon brought on Gerald Ford, (to replace Vice President Agnew who was just about to be indicted). G. Ford was approved into the office by Congress. These presidential terms — agendas were essentially stopped in their tracks. Do you remember who President Ford brought on board?

    • jerryy says:

      Yup.

      The two had the distinction of being the first President and Vice President to serve that as a pair were never elected to their offices.

      But more importantly, the agenda that Nixon and Agnew brought in was stopped.

  18. Ron B says:

    When I heard Elise Stefanik’s question and Comey’s answer, I assumed that Comey was implying that the House committee was not trustworthy. I didn’t know about the protocol of providing information to the White House first.

    But if Comey was concerned about the House committee, Devin Nunes seems to have justified that concern.

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