CNN Host Presses Comey On Why He Failed To “Shut Down” Trump’s Campaign Statements As Hate Speech

CNN Screenshot

There was a chilling moment on CNN this week in an interview of former FBI Director James Comey, by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour. In the middle of the interview, Amanpour asked Comey if he had wished the FBI “shut down” President Donald Trump’s “hate speech” during the 2016 presidential election. Next week I will be debating an advocate of such speech codes and the criminalization of hate speech at Rice University. This was a particularly revealing moment as one of the top personalities at CNN pressed the former head of the FBI on why he did not simply shutdown Trump’s speeches as hate speech. Amanpour has been an outspoken critic of Trump but this reflect more of the diminishing European view of free speech.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). There are encroachments appearing in the United States, particularly on college campuses. Notably, the media celebrated the speech of French President Emmanuel Macron before Congress where he called on the United States to follow the model of Europe on hate speech.

Amanpour pressed Comey on why he did not simply send agents to shut up Trump: “Of course, ‘Lock Her Up’ was a feature of the 2016 Trump campaign. Do you in, retrospect, wish that people like yourself, the head of the FBI, the people in charge of law and order had shut down that language, that it was dangerous potentially, that it could have created violence, that it kind of is hate speech? Should that have been allowed?”

While I have been critical of Comey’s conduct during and after his stint as FBI Director, I was not surprised by his immediate and correct statement of the law: “That’s not a role for government to play. The beauty of this country is people can say what they want even if it’s misleading and it’s demagoguery.” Amanpour’s question succeeded in showing not just an unbridled bias against Trump but an unnerving view of free speech. In the United States, we are not “allowed” to speak by the discretion of the government.

It was an embarrassing moment for CNN which has been criticized for his relentless criticism of Trump and the airing of legal experts who spent the last two years assuring viewers that criminal acts by Trump were already well established. What was ironic is that CNN has (correctly) aired criticism of Trump who has called for new legal measures to punish those who voice what he calls “fake news.” At least Trump has been largely calling for civil not criminal penalties. Here was one of CNN top figures treating the criminalization of speech as a discretionary power of the government.

CNN has done nothing to correct the record that Amanpour’s chillingly anti-free speech message was not shared by the network.

The question was a disgrace for any news organization. CNN constantly calls for the protection of the free press with its promotion series “This is an apple.” Yes, that is an apple and Amanpour’s comments are anti-free speech. Perhaps CNN can call that fact for what it is.

215 thoughts on “CNN Host Presses Comey On Why He Failed To “Shut Down” Trump’s Campaign Statements As Hate Speech”

  1. That one question by Christianne Amanpour was the most embarrassing question I can recall having witnessed on any network programming or cable news programming since…well, since I don’t know when. If I were in the unenviable position of President of CNN, I would immediately demand a public apology for even suggesting that the government should be opposing speech on any grounds. Then I would suspend her for the duration of her contract.

    Oh, well; that was a good dream. But since I am not in any official position with CNN, I can only do the best I can, and refuse to watch any of that network’s programming until the network admits that her question was detestable and has her publicly apologize for even asking such a question.

  2. “I would call Hillary Clinton for tech support before I would rely on Amanpour’s view of the world.”
    – Andrew Badinelli, 2016

  3. It’s pretty chilling that a major media figure such as Amanpour would say something of this sort, but I don’t think much of her to begin with.

  4. Back To Subject:

    TRUMP’S ‘RIGHT’ TO THREATEN JAILING

    I am still taken aback by Professor Turley’s column today. It validates my long suspicion that lawyers can sometimes be dispassionate in their arguments. Committing themselves to a premise based largely on constitutional interpretations. But overlooking the boorishness of their client’s behavior. And failing to even address it in their closing argument.

    By threatening, repeatedly, to ‘put Hillary in jail’, Trump was pandering directly the stupidest of yahoos. Inciting violence towards the Clintons whose daughter Chelsea was friends with Ivanka. How nasty of Trump to pull that stunt on people he knew socially.

    Imagine an acquaintance from 20 parties calling for your arrest! Wouldn’t that be uncool? What kind of man wants to jail a woman from his longtime social circuit? Here alone Trump behaved like the perfect creep.

    However hated Hillary might be, she was under no indictment that election year. She had, in fact, been scrutinized by several GOP-led House committees. It’s hard to think of a presidential candidate who had to jump so many hurdles.

    Beyond Hillary, and whatever legal problems one thinks she should have, Trump’s threats to jail Mrs Clinton brought Banana Republic style politics to America’s living room. Here we had a loud-mouthed bully threatening to jail his female opponent. How boorish can you get!

    CBS veteran Bob Schieffer was appalled that Trump behaved that way. During the Cronkite years no presidential candidate would have dared to go that nasty. They would have been finished the next day and rightly so.

    There were things you didn’t do in politics. And that was one of them; ‘threatening to jail your opponent’.

    That’s what made America a little classier than less democratic nations. We didn’t have loud-mouth bullies making threats on stage. That wasn’t American in even the recent past.

    Candidates were expected to observe certain protocols. Civility was considered the responsible approach. That showed statesmanship. A uniter as opposed to a divider.

    1. I’ll have to re-read the JT column…..I thought it was about the Amanpour- Comey interview, not “putting Hillary in jail”.
      Maybe when I read the column against I’ll find🧐the part about jailing Hillary.

        1. Tom, I should have referred specifically to ‘lock her up’. Below is the passage.

          Amanpour pressed Comey on why he did not simply send agents to shut up Trump: “Of course, ‘Lock Her Up’ was a feature of the 2016 Trump campaign. Do you in, retrospect, wish that people like yourself, the head of the FBI, the people in charge of law and order had shut down that language, that it was dangerous potentially, that it could have created violence, that it kind of is hate speech? Should that have been allowed?”

  5. Weakening First Amendment rights is fascist.

    Calling conservatives every name in the book for decades, and then howling in outrage and attacking the First Amendment when that language is applied to them is hypocritical, and tyrannical.

    Claiming that illegal immigration is bad is racist is ignorant and irresponsible.

    Democrat Party – stop the hate and intolerance.

    1. Get off it Miss High Horse. Do you ever listen to Fox and talk radio? Well of course you do. I’m sure you’re very upset about what Democrats and liberals are called on these shows 24/7.

      BS

      1. Apparently Anon listens to Fox News all the time. Perhaps he should supply an example along with the reason behind the statement. When he listens to left wing news, such statements are frequently made without a cogent reason and copied from source to source.

        1. It’s a bit odd that the obsession with Fox News is on the part of the left-of-center people here, not those on the right.
          If Fox News ever disappeared, they’d lose a major part of their “policy” debating points.

          1. Tom, some get confused when they listen to Fox news and hear things that are true but they never heard before. They ask themselves ‘ how can this be true if we never saw it in the left’s talking points’. Then they answer themselves ‘it’s lies all lies’. When those lies are proven to be true they show their backs and run away.

          2. This is very true. The simple-minded leftists on here think, “Person A does not ascribe to CNN, therefore they abscribe to Fox News.” And here in lies the problem. CNN seems to be a religion of sorts to many people for being the partial champion of their ideals. Sad. I give Fox news no more credibility (especially since they signed up Donna Brazile), I like how Tim Poole presents news. I can listen to what he reports, and usually refute his utopian analysis. But he is honest, and that is all I need. I would offer that the lefty posters here introduce another “branch” (oh no… could be information counter to my ideals!!! What to do????) to their simple venn diagrams of understanding.

          3. Tom, when one sees numerous posters here repeat nonsense memes like the Deep State conspiracy others could assume they listen to tin foil hat models like Alex Jones or more generously ascribe this behavior to the more common but slightly less wacked out Fox News or ubiquitous talk radio. That is not obsession, that is logic.

            1. Anon, I don’t understand your comment about obsession. Obsession: “a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling”

              So far you have never proven your preoccupation with Trump’s ‘badness’ reasonable. Nor have you ever shown that Fox News doesn’t provide reasonable news coverage. The only answer is that you are obsessed and not logical though obessesed persons frequently believe they are.

          4. If Fox News ever disappeared, they’d lose a major part of their “policy” debating points.

            Arguing against a news source while avoiding the presented facts does not earn anyone debating points. The days are long gone when the words “trusted news source” held any real meaning. Unfortunately we still have generations of people that still believe if they hear or read something on insert name here news source that what they are getting is the absolute truth. No processing of the information is required. It was said therefore it must be true. Then, when they chat with their friends, they’ll relay what they learned, reinforce their belief and wash, rinse, repeat the process the next day. Then, when they are confronted by information that challenges what they’ve come to believe is true, what skills have they developed to argue their side of the issue? None. They can turn on a TV, They can buy a paper. They can manipulate their smartphone. But what they haven’t learned to do is question their own news sources. Oh, they’re experts on everyone else’s sources, but what is their actual argument? As we’ve seen quite often on this blog, their argument is your source for the news sucks.

            As tempting as it is to engage with these folks, I still believe they should be ignored until they present logical, factual and properly sourced arguments. And by properly I mean original sources.

            1. No one ever at any time would have been wise to think that even a respected news source was presenting the “absolute truth” as Olly implies. Reporters and editors are humans who make mistakes and may even lie. That does not mean that Olly’s wished for response is beleiveing the sources who tell you what you want to hear. The NYTs and WSJ are read by responsible leaders world wide who depend on them for accurate reporting and they strive to maintain the associated prestige that comes with that. Fox news has a few good people – Wallace and Shepherd – but is mostly an opinion outlet with a targeted audience, as is MSNBC. Anyone 1/2 way intelligent should be able to tell the difference between them and the respected news sources and react accordingly.

              1. “No one ever at any time would have been wise to think that even a respected news source was presenting the “absolute truth””

                Anon, you do precisely that all the time.

                1. Yeah, Anon completely misses the point. News sources are like water sources; we know where to find them, but should we trust the quality of what comes out of them, ever? How can we know? Most importantly, we need to routinely evaluate our own biases and preferences to make sure we are able to objectively evaluate the information.

                  1. Olly, I agree, but Anon, if we can believe him and I think we can on this one issue, works as a small businessman. His problem is that though he may have desires common to us he feels his experience is good enough to make complex political and legal decisions that he knows very little about. He applies his judgements to how that would affect him. What he should do is look at principles and apply rules that work under those principles to his own line of work and see how that would affect him. He believes no one would be so stupid to make certain types of rules but he can’t see that is exactly what happens elsewhere.

                    For him to think about: Assume there is an EHR (I think people have some understanding of what an EHR is) for construction like there is for healthcare. Anon now has to document how far every nail is from one another for the entire building including the type of nail and why. If you skip a nail document why and what you used instead listing the type, brand, gauge etc. Do this for everything else but your charges remain the same. I am not saying there isn’t documentation there is in building (building inspectors etc.) and there has always been in healthcare. The EHR is merely an extention of a policy that has become stupid and places excessive burdens on everyone using it. Anon probably thinks things of that nature are OK because he doesn’t understand that he can figure out how to build a house for his client better than the guy in Washington that has never used a hammer.

                    1. Allan,
                      I have no idea what motivates Anon or any of those so virulently opposed to President Trump that they would support any effort to remove him from office. Their hypocrisy is astounding. What they are lacking from this President for his removal are the very things they approved of from the previous administration.

                      So what if President Trump and his administration:
                      – approved a gun-running operation to Mexican drug cartels that resulted in the murder of a US border patrol agent.
                      – approved the IRS targeting of liberal 501c3’s.
                      – approved the use of back-channel communications to avoid government oversight, which resulted in the release of highly classified information and sources to hacking.
                      – ignored requests for increased security at US embassies and consulates. Then provided no assistance when they were attacked, resulting in the death of an ambassador and 3 other Americans. And then lied to the American people about it.
                      – traded 5 known Taliban terrorists for the release of an Army deserter under the pretense the soldier had been serving honorably.
                      – approved spying operations on US reporters.
                      – bailed out a Solar firm with $528 million just prior to them filing for bankruptcy.
                      – paid a hostile foreign government nearly $2 billion as part of a nuclear agreement. And his Sec. of State admitted that it was likely some of those funds would be available to fund terrorist organizations.
                      – approved the use of his FBI/DOJ/CIA to spy on the opposition party candidate using false and/or misleading information to FISC.

                      I could go on, but you get my point.

                      This difference is if any of those things had been done under this administration, liberals wouldn’t need to do anything because every conservative in the country would be clamoring for his removal. And if the Republicans in Congress failed to get it done, they would be gone.

      2. You are the BS, sweetheart, and you hate the fact everyone disregards your ilk

        Psssst: Joe Biden is looking to fondle you. Go to him

        1. “your ilk” is another one of those comments free of any “self-serving stereotyping”.
          Anon, I’ve come to expect those kinds of comments from “your kind”.🙂😃

          1. Tom, absurd is especially well deserving of acid condescension from all of us if you haven’t noticed. Maybe you can suggest he change his tone….. no don’t. It’s too easy and too much fun ridiculing him.

            1. Maybe you can suggest he change his tone….. no don’t. It’s too easy and too much fun ridiculing him.

              Your lack of self-awareness is comical. DSS doesn’t have a tone problem, he has a depth of knowledge problem. And that depth is your problem. If you think it’s easy and fun ridiculing him, it’s because you have absolutely no idea you’ve been worked by DSS to the point all you’ve got is insults. You might as well slap a for rent sign on your forehead and then go begging DSS for back rent.

      3. Anon – that’s Mrs High Horse, to you.

        The types of shows that I tend to watch and listen to provide different points of view. Of course they don’t call Democrats racist, evil, phobes who should go into a wood chipper. They are usually sitting right there, and they are friends. Although the Democrat Party has alienated me, I would not wish them chased out of restaurants or harassed on campus. I think most are well-meaning, but wrong. I count Democrats among my family and friends, and I certainly don’t hate them. I am frustrated because unless the moderates reclaim the party, they are going to another universe away from a point that I can find common ground. I also find all the intolerance to be bad for the country.

        I have heard vigorous arguments against Socialism, of course. The Nazi party was the German Socialist Party.

        Whatever point of view I hear in an op ed piece, I want to hear the argument against it, as well.

        Do not presume that you know me, or how I reach my opinions. Considering all of the names that you, Late4Dinner and her alter ego Anonymous have called me on this blog, you do not have a leg to stand on in a moral argument.

        1. Karen, I believe I have been civil in my comments toward you and apologize if I have slipped on that. You on the other hand, like most of the righties here, favor self serving stereotyping name calling against “leftists”, “Democrats”, etc. which includes me.

          Get off your high horse. If you have not heard daily vitriol against your supposed Democratic friends and relatives, your deaf, judging by the familiar memes you repeat here like the gospel truth. I suggest you listen to the most popular Fox shows or right wing talk radio, any day, any hour. These guys don’t get rich being nice and fair to Democrats, but in calling us always lying enemies of real Americans (funny that we keep winning popular votes). If you don’t know this, you should shut up about your supposed unfair treatment until you learn it. It’s a fact.

          Why don’t you and your buddies here stick to the issues and drop the constant partisan pigeon holing and name calling. It’s a sure sign of a weak argument.

          1. Anon, you are very good at blaming others for your bad behavior. As Jan F. you insulted almost everyone, maybe even the fascists by the time you said “goodbye”. I tried to be civil early on hoping for a civil discussion. You said I didn’t but then I posted our first discussion demonstrating that you were the aggressor and not very nice. As usual you turned your back and repeated your claim.

            What do you expect people to do when you insult them, their group, or insult the people they consider their friends without being able to provide a cogent argument behind such statements?

          2. If you believe saying that I have “half a brain” is civil, then it does not mean what you think it means.

            I try to attack policy, not people. I’m sure I fail on occasion, but that is my standard. I vehemently oppose recent Democrat policy, and usually explain why.

          3. I’m glad that the left-wing people who comment hear do not engage in “self-serving stereotyping”.
            You’d need a lot of time or specialized software to total up the number of times that “Fox News disciples, right-wing media bubble, Hannity fans”, etc. that flood these threads.
            This, eventually, led some here to throw that gimmick right back in the faces of the “non-stereotyping” left-of center people here who make a habit of
            So “Soros”, “Brock”, etc. were counter-attacks to those who are addicted to drawing conclusions about which news sources they see, the conclusion that their political leanings started with Fox News, and that their policy views are inseparable with those of commentators like Hannity.
            One frequent visitor to this site has trouble posting with some snotty, foolish condesending remark like “Honey, you need to stop watching Fox News.
            Someone would have be blind to miss the fact that these stereotyping games are freely practised by those on the left here.

              1. I don’t know if or where a previous comment posted, but loaded words/phrases like “you Trumpsters”, “Hannity” (mentioned at least twice), “Faux News”,and “Rush” were all packed in to Anonymous/ Natacha the Hillaryite’s 2:58 PM comment.

  6. MORE ON TRUMP’S POSSIBLY IMPAIRED FACULITES

    WORD “ORANGES” USED THREE TIMES WHEN HE MEANT “ORIGINS”

    At every Trump rally you can see large numbers of people holding signs referencing QAnon, the theory that there exists a global conspiracy of satanic pedophile cannibals — I’m not kidding — which includes figures like George Soros and Hillary Clinton. But Trump and Robert S. Mueller III (in this convoluted conspiracy, Mueller is allied with Trump) are working together to expose and destroy it.

    It’s important to appreciate that the conspiracy theorist doesn’t just believe a set of outlandish stories. He has adopted an entire way of thinking about the world, one in which there are always a dozen layers of lies concealing the hidden truth. The fact that most everyone believes something becomes evidence that it’s probably false. Trump constantly feeds into this worldview not just by offering a steady stream of preposterous lies but by characterizing settled questions as deep mysteries whose truth is waiting to be uncovered.

    For instance, after learning that Mueller’s report did not recommend that he be prosecuted for conspiracy with the Russian government, Trump insisted that a new investigation must begin. “I hope they now go and take a look at the oranges, the oranges of the investigation, the beginnings of that investigation [ . . .] where it started, how it started, who started it [ . . .] Where does it go, how high up in the White House did it go?”

    Yes, he quite clearly said “oranges” three times when he meant “origins,” but the point is that we know that the investigation into the Russia scandal began when an Australian diplomat alerted the FBI that a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, had told him Russia had dirt on Clinton and was in communication with the Trump campaign about it. There is no mystery.

    Edited from: “In 2020 Trump’s Conspiracy Theorizing Will Only Get Worse”

    Today’s WASHINGTON POST

    1. Peter, this is the garbage you think is news. It doesn’t even get things right. What Trump actually said was:

      “My father is German, right, was German” He is talking about his heritage (note the addition of the word ‘was’) and appears quite tired at this interview. Take note despite what you think he is always busy. Think about his rallies where he speaks for an hour and a half without a teleprompter and keeps people engaged. That is after listening and talking to other speakers and frequently when he just flew in. Yes, occasionally he makes errors like we all do but there is no need for the Washington Post to actually lie and say something other than Trump said. The WP is news for dummies that don’t think and seldom check the facts they read.

        1. Does it occur to you that, like an ordinary person, he garbles terms from time to times, mixing up ‘grandfather’ and ‘father’? (His father, btw, was born about 3 months after his parents and sister returned from a sojourn in Germany).

          1. He said his father was born in Germany.

            He tried twice and with great effort to say “origins” twice and kept saying oranges.

            Hey I don’t give an f if he’s losing it. Less damage that way. But if I was his relative I’d be concerned.

      1. Allan.

        Peter Shill troll$ for dollar$$$. He is paid to throw nonsense at the readers of JT’s blog since no one believes CNN these days… Not even CNN reporters believe their colleagues

        1. Vast, assuming what you say is true do you think they get their money’s worth? Peter exposes the left’s hpocrisy and fiction.

  7. Peter continuously talks about lying so he should be especially interested in this piece by VDH. The piece is long because it points out so many important Democrats that have been continously lying, colluding, leaking etc.

    The Tables Turn in Russian Collusion Hunt – American Greatness

    The irony of the entire Russian collusion hoax is that accusers who cried the loudest about leaking, collusion, lying, and obstruction are themselves soon very likely to be accused of just those crimes.

    Now that Robert Mueller’s 674-day, $30 million investigation is over and has failed to find the original goal of its mandate—evidence of a criminal conspiracy between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government to sway the 2016 election—and now that thousands of once-sealed government documents will likely be released in unredacted form, those who eagerly assumed the role of the hunters may become the hunted, due to their own zealous violation of the nation’s trust and its laws.

    Take Lying
    Former FBI Director James Comey’s testimonies cannot be reconciled with those of his own deputy director Andrew McCabe. He falsely testified that the Steele dossier was not the main basis for obtaining FISA court warrants. On at least 245 occasions, Comey swore under oath that he either did not know, or could not remember, when asked direct questions about his conduct at the FBI. He likely lied when he testified that he did not conclude his assessment of the Clinton illegal email use before he had even interviewed Clinton, an assertion contradicted by his own written report. I guess his credo and modus operandi are reflected in the subtitle of his recent autobiography A Higher Loyalty: “Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”

    Andrew McCabe currently is under criminal referral for lying to federal investigators about leaking to the media. He and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein each have accused each other of not telling the whole truth about their shared caper of trying to force President Trump out of office by invoking the 25th Amendment.

    Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has admitted to lying under oath to Congress—and since lied about his earlier admission of that lying. His recent sworn congressional testimony of not having leaked information about the Steele dossier to the media is again likely to be untrue, given that Clapper had admitted to speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper about the dossier’s contents. CNN, remember, would in turn go on to hire the mendacious Clapper as an analyst. And once on air, Clapper would insist that Trump was both a Russian asset and thus guilty of collusion crimes greater than those of Watergate. Lies. All lies.

    Former CIA Director John Brennan has admitted to lying under oath to Congress on two occasions. He may well face further legal exposure. When he lost his security clearance, he repeatedly lied that Trump was guilty of collusion, however that non-crime is defined. And as the Mueller probe wound down, Brennan with pseudo-authority and trumped-up hints of phony access to secret intelligence sources deceitfully assured the nation that Trump within days would face indictment—perhaps along with his family members.

    Brennan in 2016 also reached out to foreign intelligence services, primary British and Australian, to surveille and entrap Trump aides, as a way of circumventing rules preventing CIA monitoring of American citizens. And he may well have also reverse-targeted Americans, under the guise of monitoring foreign nationals, in order to build a case of so-called Trump collusion.

    Finally, Brennan testified to Congress in May 2017 that he had not been earlier aware of the dossier or its contents before the election, although in August 2016 it is almost certain that he had briefed Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on it in a spirited effort to have Reid pressure the FBI to keep or expand its counterintelligence investigation of Trump during the critical final weeks of the election.

    Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin likely also lied to FBI investigators when they claimed they had no knowledge while working at the State Department that their boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was using an illegal private email server. In fact, they had read her communications on it and actually inquired about its efficacy.

    Samantha Power, the former U.N. ambassador, in her last year in office requested on more than 260 occasions to unmask names of Americans monitored by the government. Yet Power later claimed that most of these requests were not made by her. And yet she either does not know or does not cite who exactly used her name to make such requests during the election cycle. In any case, no one has come forward to admit to the improper use of Power’s name to request the hundreds of unmaskings.

    Susan Rice, the former Obama national security advisor, could have made a number of unmasking requests in Power’s name, although she initially denied making any requests in her own name—a lie she immediately amended. Rice, remember, repeatedly lied on national television about the cause and origins of the Benghazi attack, denied there were cash payments for hostages in the Iran deal, misled about the conduct of Beau Bergdahl, and prevaricated over the existence and destruction of weapons of mass destruction in Syria.

    Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr did not tell the truth on a federal written disclosure required by law when he omitted the key fact that his wife Nellie worked on Christopher Steele’s Fusion GPS dossier. Ohr’s testimony that he completely briefed key FBI officials on the dossier in July or August 2016 is not compatible to what former FBI attorney Lisa Page has testified to concerning the dates of her own knowledge of the Steele material.

    Take Foreign Collusion
    Christopher Steele is a foreign national. So are many of the Russian sources that he claims he had contacted to solicit dirt on Donald Trump and his campaign aides. In fact, John Brennan’s CIA, soon in consultation with the FBI, was used in circuitous fashion to facilitate surveillance of Donald Trump’s campaign through the use of foreign nationals during the 2016 campaign.

    Foreigners such as Maltese professor Josef Mifsud, and former Australian minister for foreign affairs Alexander Downer and an array of intelligence contractors from the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) mysteriously met with minor Trump aide George Papadopoulos and others. It is likely that to disguise American intelligence agencies’ efforts to besmirch, surveille, and leak to the press damaging unfounded rumors about the Trump campaign that John Brennan enlisted an entire cadre of foreign nationals. And it is likely to be the most egregious example of using non-U.S. citizens to affect the outcome of an election in our history. If there is a crime of foreign collusion—a conspiracy of U.S. officials to use foreigners to interfere with an American election—then Brennan’s efforts are the textbook example.

    Take Leaking
    Many of the names unmasked by requests from Samantha Power and Susan Rice were leaked illegally to the media. James Comey himself leaked confidential memos of presidential conversations to the press; in at least one case, the memo was likely classified.

    Former FBI general counsel James Baker is currently under criminal referral for improperly leaking classified documents. He seems to have been in contact with the media before the election and he may have been one of many FBI officials and contacts, along with Christopher Steele, that reporters such as David Corn, Michael Isikoff, and Julia Ioffe anonymously referenced in their pre-election published hit pieces on Russian collusion—all the result of the successful strategies of Fusion GPS, along with some in the FBI, to seed unverified anti-Trump gossip to warp the election. Andrew McCabe also is under criminal referral both for leaking classified information and then lying about it.

    In a fashion emblematic of this entire sordid mess, the always ethically compromised James Clapper in January 2017 had leaked the dossier to Jake Tapper of CNN and likely other journalists and then shortly afterwards publicly deplored just this sort of government leaking that had led to sensational stories about the dossier.

    Take Obstruction of Justice
    A number of FBI and Department of Justice high ranking employees such as James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Rod Rosenstein, and Sally Yates all signed off on FISA warrants to surveille Carter Page without apprising the courts that they knew that their chief evidence, the Steele Dossier, was unverified, was paid for by Hillary Clinton, and was used in circular fashion as the basis for news accounts presented to the court. Nor did the Justice Department and FBI officials apprise the FISA justices that Christopher Steele had been terminated as a FBI source.

    No one believes that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch just happened to meet Bill Clinton on a Phoenix airport tarmac and confined their conservations to a variety of topics having nothing to do with Hillary Clinton—at a time when Lynch’s Justice Department was investigating her. Note the meeting was only disclosed because a reporter got a tip and arrived on the scene of the two adjoining Lynch and Clinton private jets—which suggests that the only thing Lynch and Clinton regretted was being found out. Few believe that Lynch had recused herself as she promised, given her strict oversight of the sort of language Comey’s FBI was allowed to use in its investigation of Clinton.

    Take Conflict of Interest
    Andrew McCabe never should have been in charge of the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton, given that just months earlier his wife had been the recipient of $675,000 in campaign cash donated by Clinton and Democratic Party-affiliated political action committees. And the apology of a “time line” that suggests conflicts of interest like McCabe’s expired after an arbitrary date is specious. McCabe knew his spouse had been a recent recipient of Clinton-related money, knew that he had substantial influence on the fate of her email investigation, and hoped and assumed that she was likely to be the next president of the United States quite soon.

    Rod Rosenstein never should have been appointed acting attorney general in charge of oversight of the Mueller investigation. He knew Mueller well. In circular fashion, he had drafted the rationale to fire Comey that had prompted the Mueller’s appointment. He had signed off on a FISA warrant request without apprising the court of the true nature of the Steele dossier’s origins and nature. He had met shortly before the Mueller appointment with acting FBI director Andrew McCabe to investigate the chance of removing Trump under a distortion of the 25th Amendment. So, in essence, Rosenstein had been one of the catalysts for McCabe to investigate removing Trump for his own part in the removal of Comey and then in Orwellian fashion joined McCabe’s efforts.

    Comey deliberately leaked a classified memo of a presidential conversation, in which he had misled the president about his actual status under FBI investigations, in order to cause enough media outrage over his firing to prompt the hiring of a special counsel. That gambit succeeded in the appointment of his own longtime associate Robert Mueller, who would be charged to investigate “collusion,” in which Comey played an important role in monitoring the Trump campaign with the assistance of British national Christopher Steele.

    Robert Mueller did not need to appoint a legal team inordinately Democratic, which included attorneys who had been either donors to the Clinton campaign, or had been attorneys for Clinton aides, or had defended the Clinton Foundation. And he certainly should not have included on his investigative team that was charged with adjudicating Russian collusion in the 2016 election both Zainab Ahmad and Andrew Weissman, Obama Justice Department officials, who had been briefed by Bruce Ohr before the election on the nature of the Steele dossier and its use of foreign sources.

    It will be difficult to unravel all of the above lying, distortion, and unethical and illegal conduct.

    The motives of these bad actors are diverse, but they share a common denominator. As Washington politicos and administrative state careerists, all of them believed that Donald Trump was so abhorrent that he should be prevented from winning the 2016 election. After his stunning and shocking victory, they assumed further that either he should not be inaugurated or he should be removed from office as soon as they could arrange it.

    They further reasoned that as high and esteemed unelected officials their efforts were above and beyond the law, and rightly so, given their assumed superior wisdom and morality.

    Finally, if their initial efforts were predicated on winning not just exemption from the law, but even promotions and kudos from a grateful President Hillary Clinton, their subsequent energies at removing Trump and investing in the collusion hoax were preemptive and defensive. Seeding the collusion hoax was a way either of removing Trump who had the presidential power to call them all to account for their illegality, or at least causing so much media chaos and political havoc that their own crimes and misdemeanors would be forgotten by becoming submerged amid years of scandal, conspiracies, and media sensationalism.

    And they were almost—but so far not quite—correct in all their assumptions.

    1. Alan, when you cut & paste from conservative media sources, you could at least tell us where they are coming from. Instead you routinely post these stock articles f(rom who knows when) in an effort to fog the comment threads.

      1. Because we can’t hear from a multitalented classical scholar but we must hear from nosepickers Jeff Bezos’ minions hired out of J-Schools.

      2. Peter, I am encouraging you to evaluate ideas outside your comfort zone. You start with where the ideas come from such as the Washington Post that has been proven wrong over and over again where writers are frequently uneducated on the subject matter and are pushing an ideology instead of ideas. If you see WP then to you it is acceptable. If you see something else that you are unfamiliar with the ideas being promoted are immediately thought by you to be junk.

        Your leftwing sources are economic and historical illiterates. That is why you cannot defend an argument. All you can do is say left wing good, right wing bad. That type of thinking is what we see in nincompoops. I am encouraging you to step out beyond your fortified enclosure and see the world as it actually is.

        Take note how those on the right generally know who you are talking about but you don’t know the same about those the right talks about. That is proof that your education doesn’t exist because a truly educated person knows more than one side. You don’t even know enough to recognize that I provided both the initials of the writer, VDH, and the source, American Greatness.

        Now you can choose to read the ideas being promoted and debate them or simply throw them in the trash can. How you handle that task tells us all we need to know about you.

  8. Amanpour is like most demonrat progs. She has no true religion. In its place is instead her political affiliation. Like most religious zealots, she wants her religious (political, one in the same) enemies dead. She’ll settle for tossing them in prison for life, but if they resist, kill them all right now.

    For now, the best they can do is silence those with a different religion, keep others from hearing different doctrine, and separate persons with different religion from their ability to earn a living. Progs are the modern equivalent of The Catholic Church burning science books ages ago.

    Progs don’t have a different/alternate point of view, they have the ONLY TRUE point of view, and those who resist must die. See Portland “Antifa.”

  9. Demonrat progs must want to have Christiane’s baby right here on the floor! What more joy could a progressive have than to see FBI storm troopers in full riot and military gear, tossing tear gas canisters into a group of Trump fans, and machine gunning all who resisted, for speaking words against Islam and Muhammad, I mean, against their demigod Shillary Clinton.

  10. DO FREE SPEECH RIGHTS APPLY TO DEMENTIA?

    TRUMP DISPLAYS SIGNS THAT MAY INDICATE LOSS OF FACULTIES

    In the past 24 hours, Trump — who will be 74 in November 2020 and is “tired,” according to aides — has:

    Falsely declared multiple times that his father was born in Germany. (Fred Trump was born in New York.)

    Declared that wind turbines cause cancer.

    Confused “origins” and “oranges” in asking reporters to look into the “oranges of the Mueller report.”

    Told Republicans to be more “paranoid” about vote-counting.

    He is increasingly incoherent. The Post quotes him at a Republican event on Tuesday: “We’re going into the war with some socialist. It looks like the only non, sort of, heavy socialist is being taken care of pretty well by the socialists, they got to him, our former vice president. I was going to call him, I don’t know him well, I was going to say ‘Welcome to the world Joe, you having a good time?’” Even when attempting to defend himself, he emits spurts of disconnected thoughts. “Now you look at that [presidential announcement] speech and you see what’s happening and that speech was so tame compared to what is happening now, that trek up is one of the great treacherous treks anywhere, and Mexico has now, because they don’t want the border closed.”

    I don’t presume to diagnose him or to render judgment on his health. All of us, however, should evaluate his words and actions. If you had a relative who spoke this way, you would urge him to get checked out or advise him to slow down (although Trump’s schedule, with its hours of “executive time,” is already lighter than the schedules of many retirees). Remember that this guy is the commander in chief, holder of the nuclear codes.

    Even Republicans realize that his decisions are more erratic and illogical than ever. He doubled down on his intention to invalidate the Affordable Care Act in the courts, then insisted he had a terrific replacement, next said he would assign others to figure out the plan and take a vote before the 2020 election, and finally declared that they would vote on such a (nonexistent) bill after the 2020 election. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was compelled to stage an intervention and tell him there would be no vote before 2020. (I suppose if the court strikes down Obamacare before that, McConnell would tell 20 million people covered by Obamacare to fend for themselves.)

    Trump, even after declaring an “emergency” and robbing the Pentagon budget to pay for a border wall, declares we are at a “breaking point” and wants to close the border. That comes as news to his aides, who know you can’t close a 1,900-mile border, and in saying so risk causing a panic flight to get across before such an order. Even Trump staffers know that if you could pull it off, closing the border would crash the economy. As to the latter, Trump says he doesn’t care because security is more important than trade. (We’d have neither with his scheme.)

    Collectively, we need to stop treating his conduct as normal. Politicians should start saying aloud what we all intuitively understand: Trump is unraveling before our eyes. There is reason to be concerned about how he’ll make it through the rest of his term. Giving him another four years is unimaginable.

    Edited from: “Trump Is Unraveling Before Our Eyes. He Isn’t Fit For Reelection”

    Today’s WASHINGTON POST
    …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

    This piece comes with a video clip from yesterday in which Trump refers to his father’s birth in Germany. Trump’s grandfather was born in Germany. But Trump’s father was born in New York City. The fact that Trump is confused on this could be a genuine indicator of either dementia or a physical condition requiring medical care.

    One should note that seniors sometimes decline as early as their early 70’s. And it often begins with false statements and irrational behavior. What at first seems like old fashioned crankiness often degenerates into full-blown dementia.

    Last week Trump took Republican leaders completely by surprise when he ordered the Justice Department to let Obamacare be totally discarded before any replacement has been implemented. Party leaders have finally gotten Trump to shelve those plans until after the next election.

    But this week Trump capriciously announced his intention to completely close our southern border. Again Republican leaders are taken by surprise. A total border closure could have far-reaching economic ramifications. Republican leaders are still grappling with this issue as of this writing.

    It is, however, entirely possible that Trump is actually suffering a medical condition that is literally impairing his brain functions. His statement regarding his father’s ‘birth in Germany’ could a vital clue. Seniors often make mistakes like that when their faculties begin to degrade.

    1. “I don’t presume to diagnose him or to render judgment on his health.”

      And then you go on to do exactly that.

      There’s something seriously wrong with you. I don’t think it’s just the low IQ.

      1. Ivan, would you want to know if Trump is losing his faculties? Or would that be too political?

        Your comment implies that people shouldn’t nitpick when the president mistakenly claims his father was an immigrant.

        What if ‘your’ father, or favorite uncle, began to make erroneous assertions about family history? You’d be worried, I’m sure. Not all seniors make to their 80’s before faculties become impaired.

        For that reason the age of presidents is vitally important. I never supported Bernie Sanders for that very reason. And even Hillary’s age concerned me. I won’t consider Biden for reasons of age alone.

        Presidents need to be absolutely sharp.

    2. So to recap Pete, you are saying that:
      1. There is a class of Sub Citizens in America, American Citizens who are not worthy of or valuable enough to be afforded the Constitutional Protections, Rights and Due Process their Citizenship grants them and instead should be governed by an updated 21st Century version of the Nuremberg Laws.
      2. That everyone one who mispeaks, misremembers, is tired, or forgets where their car keys are MUST automatically be stripped of their Constitutional Rights.
      Then what?
      By the way, I don’t recall seeing such an impassioned plea to strip of their Offices and Constitutional Rights Pelosi as she goes full King Lear at every press conference after giving her kingdom to the Manson Girls Alex, Ilhan and Rashida, Uncle Joe as he goes full Multiple Miggs on every woman/female child in sight, the always lovely Jackson Lee when she declared with the invincible conviction of ignorance that the Constitution is 400 years old or my personal favorite gift that keeps on giving, the dems next manufactured Saviour of the World, the always eloquent, brilliantly deep thinking strategist, The Joan of Arc in the war against cow farts, Ocrazio-Cortex whose IQ appears to be in the single digits and yet amazingly still exceeds the IQs of her disciples and handlers such as Elijah Cummings.

      1. Dawn, you’re trying to use ‘what aboutisms’ with regards to dementia.

        The idea seems to be that even though Trump displays possible signs of impaired faculties, that’s perfectly normal. And instead of criticizing Trump, we should note that certain Democrats could be too old.

        1. P. Hill, using reason and logic and facts do not work on this site. I do admire you trying, but they are digging in deeper and they will not change their mind no matter what.

          1. You’re probably right, FishWings. But Professor Turley must look at these threads from time to time. He should see the thought process of Trump loyalists.

            1. The thought process is called clarity. Now it is not just the grubby will to power Democrats who have it anymore, and you don’t like that. But hey: Welcome to the Jungle!

              “… I wanted to tear my teeth out, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it, I never want to forget. And then I realized–like I was shot…like I was shot with a diamond…a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, “My God, the genius of that, the genius, the will to do that.” Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they could stand that–these were not monsters, these were men, trained cadres, these men who fought with their hearts, who have families, who have children, who are filled with love–that they had this strength, the strength to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, then our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral and at the same time were able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling, without passion, without judgment–without judgment. Because it’s judgment that defeats us.”

        2. Ah, there’s MSNBCs buzzword of the month “whataboutism.” I was wondering when that would show up.
          Okay, I knew this was too complex for you so skip the Pelosi part.
          “What about”answering the question?
          What next step do you propose be taken after your beloved 21st Nuremburg Laws are implemented and hundreds of millions of American Citizens object. The obvious answer is the only answer when a death cult is involved. The only course of action that will assure complete sucess and domination
          by Deep State is the defacto murder of American Citizens who resist. American Citizens must be killed on American soil.
          Your Nazi/Communist combo form of government the Democrat Communist are now in the midst of trying to install in The United States cannot be sucessfull, cannot maintain and cannot continue to expand and exist without the defacto murder of those who object.
          Now we know where you stand on the issue and it explains quite clearly a lot of other things like your hatred of everything Trump, America and the Constitution.

    3. Please quote the line from the DSM-5 whereby a lay person has authority to share an opinion Re. someone’s mental health from hundreds of miles distance.

      It’s been many months, almost two years, since I’ve seen any licensed medical and/or mental health professional share an opinion in public Re. Trump’s mental health. Why? I suspect, and the only reason I can imagine, is that the licensing board put them all on notice that such public behavior is positively practicing bad medicine and outright violation of good medical practice, which can “result in discipline up to and including permanent loss of license, and even potential criminal charge.”

      Of course, dimwitted sufferers of TDS like our above poster suffer no such restraint or consequences.

    4. Falsely declared multiple times that his father was born in Germany. (Fred Trump was born in New York.)

      Friedrich and Elisabeth Trump traveled back and forth between New York and the Palatinate several times during the period running from 1902 to 1906, including a trip that departed from Hamburg on 1 July 1905. Fred C. Trump was born on 11 October 1905.

      1. Yes, in NYC.

        So, you speculate that Trump was confused by all this activity, even though he wasn’t born yet? How would that work? Even his father should not have been confused on this. He wasn’t born yet either.

        1. Well, we have three possibilities:

          1. Trump family lore is confused as to who was born where during several trips back and forth between the Palatinate and New York. (During a five year interval in which Elisabeth Trump birthed three children).

          2. Trump mixed up ‘father’ and ‘grandfather’ in the course of some off-the-cuff remarks.

          3. Trump has Alzheimer’s

          Peter Shill fancies option 3 is the most plausible. Because Peter’s not the sharpest tack in the box.

          1. 1. Yes, well since Trump’s daddy was a deaf mute, I’m sure he never told anyone he was born in NYC.
            2. What?
            3. Could be.
            4. Lies so much he can’t remember which story he’s telling.

            I’m going with 3 or 4.

            1. 1. Yes, well since Trump’s daddy was a deaf mute, I’m sure he never told anyone he was born in NYC.

              1. It’s what Elisabeth Trump told people that’s salient and what they remember of it. This isn;t that difficult.

              2. This isn’t that difficult.

              I’m going with 3 or 4.

              You’re not the sharpest tack in the box, either.

    5. Yes, P Hill, free speech rights do indeed apply to dementia. My grandmother died of Alzheimers. If anyone claimed that anything she said broke the law, there would be a line of us between her and them.

      It is irresponsible to claim someone has dementia for political purposes. Or a narcissist. Or heart disease. Or a racist. Or any other slur the Democrats have thrown against Republicans for a decade and Trump, specifically, for political gain.

      Why would Trump threaten to close the Southern Border? Because Border Patrol has been on record, and on camera, declaring that they are overwhelmed. They don’t have the facilities to deal with 1,000 people a day, and now it’s 4,000, just at one facility. We are getting swamped because Democrats send the message that if you want to come, don’t wait in any pesky lines. Don’t go through the system. Just come, claim asylum, and now it’s a free for all. People interviewed all claim something similar – the way they ran their country plowed it into the ground, the economy is bad, and they can do better here. That is not the definition of asylum. Venezuela is in the most need, and I don’t want to blow all our resources on people who are not in the same dire straights, with an entire nation starving to death.

      Only legal immigration should be allowed. Mexico has enabled mass invasive caravans to pass through its country on its way to overwhelm our border patrol. They normally deport illegal immigrants. They must take their role in this seriously and prevent invasions from using their country to gain access. If they don’t, then our relationship is not going to endure.

      I do not agree that shutting down the border is the best option, since it has far reaching impacts. I do agree with making it crystal clear to Mexico that if they are a bad neighbor, there will be repercussions.

      This is playing out all over Europe, as migrant invasions overwhelm countries to the point that, one by one, they are shutting them off or greatly reducing the flow. Why would the US be any different? Did we magically grow more recourses, land, and water to suddenly support 7 billion people in the world? We have the right to say who, and how many. It is irresponsible otherwise.

      1. “It is irresponsible to claim someone has dementia for political purposes. ”

        The left all over the world has used psychiatric illness as a cover-up for their abuses of power. They hate freedom of speech except if it is their own.

        1. take a lesson from them. Don’t be bound by what is “consistent” or what is “responsible” or what some ideal of this or that says. Adapt to circumstances and use that tools at your disposal.

          That is why they hate Trump. He does what works. They see him as an absolute threat in a way all the lilly-livered kayfabe phonies that came before him were not. He means business!

          1. What has he done that has worked? Juiced an already growing economy with hot checks it’ll take a generation to repay? Boosted Putin and Lil Kim’s world status while sowing discord and distrust among our democratic allies? Tried to get Iran to stop complying with their agreement to end nuclear weapons development? Turned our southern border – relatively quiet for a decade into a crisis point? Left the TPP to all the other non-Chinese countries on the Pacific Rim to benefit from? Set record balance of trade deficits? Lost the House? Pissed off the Canadians? Now that’s hard to do.

    6. reads like the way people talk. if you have read a lot of depositions as a law clerk which I did like every other law clerk in the litigation factory I clerked in, they all sound kind of goofy like that. so much for the dementia

  11. Amanpour asked a question that many people would have since they strongly oppose Hillary opponents’ shouting “Lock her up.” This was the focus of Amanpour’s question to Comey. I did not hear any statement by Amanpour indicating that she actually agreed that Comey or the FBI should have done something to stop this free speech by Hillary opponents. So here Turley is opposing Amanpour’s exercise of her free speech in simply asking that question.

    1. It was a stupid question regardless of what Ms. Amanpooh may or not have been advocating.
      It indicates an apparent belief on her part that the FBI has the authority or ability to control/”shut down” a president’s speech that they find objectionable.
      I doubt that even Comey believes that, although he might have considered it to be an act of moral superiority. A common observation about Comey and a source of problems for him was that he considered himself to be THE moral arbitrator and acted as though he were that arbitrator.

      1. Amanpour’s question was not stupid. It served up a softball to Comey so that Comey could knock it out of the park. Did you notice that she did not ask a follow-up question? It all ended with his defense of freedom of speech. Amanpour’s intent would have been more clear if she had prefaced her question with the statement: “Many people argue that the government should have shut down those who yelled ‘Lock her up. Do you agree?'” That would have clarified that she was simply playing the devil’s advocate for the sake of her reportage.

        1. RD KAY,
          In viewing the video it appears that Amanpour seriously believes that Comey had that option to “shut down Trump’s hate speech”.
          That video, and some familiarity with Amanpour’s political leanings and beliefs, led me to conclude that she considered that to be a legimate question.
          It’s possible that it was a stupid stunt designed to feed a softball question to Come, but it didn’t look that way to me. I’ve seen enough of her in her role as “an interviewer”, and in that area she reveals some of her more extreme views than she did as a reporter.

  12. The Left has gone nuts. You are such a dumb ass, Peter Shill.
    You recently claimed the Nigerian brothers who aided Jussie Smollet were here in the US illegally even if they are US Citizens.

    https://jonathanturley.org/2019/03/29/smollett-and-the-scourge-of-celebrity-justice/#comments

    Next you will demand to control Fox News editorial content. But wait! Cue the fakest of all Congressional instigators

    “Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) took the bait, and is now bringing newsroom debate into his House Oversight Committee for investigation. In a letter sent to the former reporter, Diana Falzone, he asked for her working documents on the story, as well as an interview with the committee.”

    https://www.mediaite.com/opinion/ex-fox-news-editor-heres-why-im-not-complying-with-house-investigation-into-spiked-stormy-daniels-report/

    Trump is going to win reelection by a landslide with these pathetic mongrels whining all their way down the toilet

    1. Estovir, you are a loser malcontent who has nothing to contribute to this blog. Please go back to InFoWars; that’s your logical home.

  13. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am forced to interact occasionally with an unpleasant individual who percieves himself as an enlightened Trump hating liberal who was discussing this with a friend in my presence. I was quite surprised to hear him say words to the effect
    “This sh!t is f%#ed up. I never said “lock her up” and never will say “lock her up” but I will sure as sh!t fight like hell to preserve my option to f%#king say “lock her up” if I choose.”
    I am glad that the left is now so emboldened in their madness that they are actually trotting out their plans and consequences for review by all Americans in the light of day, because most sane people regardless of political persuasion love their life of freedom in this country a lot more than they hate Trump and realize that Trump is temporary and mildly irritating for them while slavery under the death cult of Democrat Communism is a hundred death filled years long.

    1. Since when did Ammanpour get into the news business?? Last week? I thought she was just pimping for the DNC’s claim they were democratic and in a country that has never been a Democracy.

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