Incitement Or Free Speech? Comey Calls For the Republican Party To Be “Burned Down”

There is an interesting interview this week with former FBI Director James Comey.  He states that he now believes that the infamous alleged “pee tape” may be real and makes other surprising statements while pitching his new book.  One statement, however, stood out: “The Republican party needs to be burned down … It’s just not a healthy political organization.” Since the Republican National Committee was targeted with a pipe bomb in the recent riots, some could argue that this is incitement to arson or violence. I would not. I would call it free speech and hyperbole. The question is where the line is drawn given the impeachment of Donald Trump based on his speech and the allegations that others who used such hyperbolic language are actually guilty of incitement.

As I have previously stated, I condemned Trump’s speech in a series of tweets while it was being given and I called for a bipartisan vote of censure over his responsibility in the riots. However, I opposed the use of a snap impeachment by the House and raised concerns over the framing of the article of impeachment as an “incitement to insurrection.” Despite the chorus of legal experts insisting that the speech would constitute a strong case for criminal incitement (and the DC Attorney General said he may charge Trump), I believe such a prosecution would eventually collapse on free speech grounds if based solely on this speech and Trump’s other public statements.

Comey is not alone in the use of such rhetoric in today’s super-heated political environment. We previously discussed how conservatives have pointed to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) calling for people to confront Republican  leaders in restaurants; Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) insisted during 2020’s violent protests that “there needs to be unrest in the streets,” while then-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) said “protesters should not let up” even as many protests were turning violent. They can all legitimately argue that their rhetoric was not meant to be a call for violence, but this is a standard fraught with subjectivity.

The question is whether Comey would be charged under this same logic if the RNC building was attacked again and actually burned down. That would be obviously ridiculous. However, where is the line drawn?  Free speech demands bright lines and those are being erased in our cancel culture from universities to the media to Congress.

The interview also had this remarkable statement on the allegation in the Christopher Steele dossier that the Russian government had a video of Trump watching sex workers urinate on each other in a Moscow hotel room in 2013:

“It came to us in late September. We had information since the summer with which it was consistent and I didn’t know what to make of it, but, because it was from a source who had a track record with the FBI, our team dove into it to see if they could replicate it. I still don’t know. I actually think the Senate intelligence committee report, coupled with [former Trump lawyer] Michael Cohen’s account in his book, probably makes the ‘pee tape’ stuff more likely than it was when I was fired.”

That is an extraordinary assertion based on a widely discredited dossier and the equally discredited Michael Cohen. Comey does not cite what in the Senate intelligence report gives credence to the allegation. 

Comey does make a point that I agree with. He does not understand how the rioters gained access to the Capitol and he wants an investigation. I voiced the same suspicion the day of the riot. All of these questions should be answered in a full and transparent way.

The call for a commission is far more constructive than Comey’s version of the “burn baby burn” mantra.

405 thoughts on “Incitement Or Free Speech? Comey Calls For the Republican Party To Be “Burned Down””

  1. The FISA warrant applications were just an unfortunate oversight according to Comey.

    Yep!
    ____

    “We will stop him.”

    – Peter Strzok to FBI paramour Lisa Page
    —————————————————-

    “[Obama] wants to know everything we’re doing.”

    – Lisa Page to FBI paramour Peter Strzok
    _________________________________

    “Former FBI Director James Comey conceded that there was “real sloppiness” involved with the bureau’s effort to obtain warrants to secretly surveil a Trump campaign adviser in 2016, saying in a Sunday interview that he was “overconfident” with his trust in the bureau’s procedures.

    “(The Justice Department’s inspector general) also found things that we were never accused of, which is real sloppiness, and that’s concerning. As I’ve said all along (it) has to be focused on. If I were director, I’d be very concerned about it and diving into it,” Comey told “Fox News Sunday” host Chis Wallace.

    ‘Asked by Wallace about comments Comey made last year that he was sure officials at the FBI were “responsible” when they prepared surveillance warrants applications for Carter Page under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the former FBI chief said he “was wrong.”

    “I was overconfident in the procedures that the FBI and (Department of) Justice have built over 20 year years. I thought they were robust enough,” he said.

    – CNN

    1. The first time Pres. Trump interviewed Comey, Comey knew Hillary and the DNC purchased the Russia Dossier (the prime subject of their talk). Anderson Cooper asked Comey if Comey should have passed that info on to Trump, to which Comey chuckled and said it did not occur to him.

      1. If Comey’s omission does not prove Comey’s first responsibility was to act as a DNC operative, then there is no such thing as a political operative.

  2. The republican party will do what they always do when things go bad, ignore what has happened. It’s still hard to find anybody that will say in public that they voted for Dubya. Same thing went in the Nixon era, they would look around and say, Richard who? Then the Trump deplorables, and they are “deplorables”, turned the party into a monstrosity. They desecrated any law, rule, and normal behavior of representatives of the people they are suppose to work for. Their destructive ideology of cult of personality of Donald Trump has turned the past four years of American politics into a nightmare. Trump will leave this country worse then when he came in, and the “party” allowed it, so yeah, burn it down and start over with the ideas that they use to believe in.

    1. I know plenty of people who voted for GWB. I did.

      I think he was a poor president – almost as Bad as Obama.
      But he was a better choice that Gore.

      Do you know people who admit to voting for Gore ?

      That was a really bad year. No good choices.
      Bush Kerry was not so hot either.

    2. How quickly you forget that your demigod Obama, the cold blooded felonious murderer of 16 year old American citizen Anwar Al-Awlaki and Clinton are what gave us Trump. The only US political hack hated more than Trump was the scum bag woman who combined with the corrupt DNC stole the nomination from Sanders.

      Let’s see what Pulitzer prize winning journalist and true progressive Glenn Greenwald says about 2% Kamala Harris and Joe Biden: a “Smarter, More Stable Donald Trump.” https://www.zerohedge.com/political/greenwald-explains-how-bidens-neoliberal-policies-fuel-rise-smarter-more-stable-donald

      1. Anwar Al-Awlaki was 40. Check your facts. It was his son who was killed as a bystander in an attack on Ibrahim al-Banna. Your demigod, Trump killed his 8-year old sister in a commando attack he ordered if you want to reference bystanders btw.

  3. > The question is whether Comey would be charged under this same logic if the RNC building was attacked again and actually burned down

    … by a crowd he was speaking to minutes before it attacked the building.

    1. Obama was speaking minutes before Malaysian Airlines 370 disappeared – it must be his fault !!!!

      BTW you are in error. The capital protest preceded Trump’s speech.

      1. Time stamps on videos/audios are valuable or very damning evidence depending on the case.

        As I understand it had Trump been on time to speak as planned on Jan 6,2020 Alex Jones & his 1 mil + Trump supporters would mostly left the other end of the mall 10 minutes earlier & been a mile away from Trumps speech & at the capital just as Pelosi/Schumer/McConnell, Deep State’s paid goons… antifa/BLM/Boogieloo Sh*t heads, Q turds etc.., 100-150 people, were turned loose to cause their trouble/riot inside the capital, IE: Peterson, etc..

        Pelosi/Schumer/McConnell, Deep State were successful in stopping a 10 days investigation into the 11/3 fraudulent election of Biden, Congressmen , but their Scam Capital Riot backfired a bit because Pelosi/Schumer/McConnell, Deep State seemed to have been hoping to have Alex Jones & his supporters blamed & Jones arrested.

  4. Turley is clearly right that statements by Maxine Waters & Pressley are hardly helpful, but his outrage over incitement to violence rings hollow since he deliberately chooses to remain silent about the ongoing death threats aimed at Kemp, Raffensperger & other Republican state officials when they became targets of vicious personal attacks from Trump, Loeffler, Perdue & Trump’s attorneys. Their crime? They certified multiple recounts confirmed Biden won Georgia & other swing states in free & fair elections.

    Guess it’s just another example of “a standard fraught with subjectivity” right, JT?

    Any comment on today’s statements by McConnell about the mob who stormed the Capitol last week?

    McConnell: “The mob was fed lies, They were provoked by the President and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear & violence to stop a certain procedin by the first branch of the federal government which they did not like.”

    1. What you think there have been no death threats to Trump.

      Regardless this is an idioctic fallacy.

      None of us are responsible for what others do.

      Is the ecology movement responsible for the unibomber ?

      Is the democratic party responsible for Thomas Hodkinson ?

      I am not surprised that Kemp and Raffensberger have received death threats – they failed at a critical duty – to conduct and election that people trust. They have other failures to. But that is the most critical.

      You can rant that most of the claims have been debunked – that is false – but even if true – why do those claims exist ?

      We conducted a lawless election by the most fraud prone means possible. If we did not get massive fraud – we were lucky and we will not be next time. Most people appear to be smarter than you – they grasp that.

      The duty to acheive the trust and consent of the people is GOVERNMENTS – not the other way arround.

      1. McConnell and McCarthy have conducted themselves in ways which establish that they’re not fit for the positions they hold. And, if you look at their employment histories, you can see they were never fit.

        1. But you are.

          What would you call it when you beleive someone you constanly accuse of being a vile sack of $hit, because he might at the moment be saying something you like ?

    2. Garbage In, Garbage Out!

      Who recounts garbage?

      Oh yeah, the frauds, liars and communists (liberals, progressives, socialists, democrats, RINOs), that’s who.

      It was a RINO charade in Georgia; Mittens Romney types.

      The algorithms on the thumb drives were loaded long ago.

  5. Make America California Again!

    – Los Angeles Times
    ________________

    California is a one-party, communist state cesspool which was invaded and conquered by illegal aliens from various s-hole locations.

    California has been destroyed beyond recognition; beyond redemption.

    Talking about corrupted elections and vote tampering, Comrade Kamalala Harris was quite agreeably “elected” Senator in an election which featured TWO DEMOCRATS.

    California voters had a choice between the DEMOCRAT and the DEMOCRAT.

    That is what Fake Biden wants for America; a one-party communist state, sans republicans, in which all candidates are democrats (i.e. communists).

    Bottom line, Fake Biden wants to:

    Make America A Third World One-Party Communist State Again.

    Fake Biden wants to engage in “…fundamentally transforming the United States of America…” into extinction.

    In addition, given that the American fertility rate is in a “death spiral” and the population is imported, in 100 years, there won’t be an American left in America.

    Goodnight, America.
    ________________

    “The influx of foreigners must, therefore, tend to produce a heterogeneous compound; to change and corrupt the national spirit; to complicate and confound public opinion; to introduce foreign propensities. In the composition of society, the harmony of the ingredients is all-important, and whatever tends to a discordant intermixture must have an injurious tendency.”

    – Alexander Hamilton

  6. Turley: you’ve done what you’ve done with the Mueller report, taken doubt in little bits of it and projected it on to the whole report and proclaimed falsehood. Really slippery. Not true, and basically lazy — but lazy with shady rhetorical intentions.

    I don’t think anyone (outside of people like Allan) truly doubts the existence of the pee tape. It’s too strange to be random falsehood. Do i think trump got peed on by Russian hookers? Doubtful given his germ freak reality. But do I think trump paid Russian hookers to pee in a bed he knew Obama had previously slept in? I don’t doubt it for a second. Given trump’s fetishized reality, to not believe it would be the more dubious tact to take. Let’s talk to Stormy and her rolled up magazine about it.

    As far as the burning down and realignment of the Republican party goes…, well, they’re being spoken to in terms of things they understand; trump never won a popular vote and corporations have backed way off with their donations at the moment. Markets have been ready for trump to leave for awhile…a soybean oil contract on election day ran about $32.80 a bushel >>> now they’re up over 43. Trump almost totally crushed the grain markets with his tariff taxes and he had to shuffle $28 billion in aid to keep the market afloat in his term. Add to that, demographics get increasinly unfavorable to traditional repub voter base. Writing’s on the floor for the republican party. They can’t recreate trump and use him as a trojan horse anymore, his base loves him, not typical republicans.

    Comey was on the money, Turley. At least with that. His timing of statements leaves much to be desired, I’m sure it’s hounded him throughout his career.

    Time to hop off the train, Jon. It’s headed for a brick wall.

    Elvis Bug

  7. So far, I just thought Turley was dishonest, now that he reads “The Republican party needs to be burned down” the way he explained – he is a knucklehead as well.

  8. anyways maybe Comey is right. burn it down and let something stronger, fiercer, and wiser take its place

    saloth sar

  9. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”

    – Oscar Wilde
    ___________

    “Mediocrity” read: Dementia.

    Fake Biden says, “Make America California Again.”

    President Donald J. Trump is a leader.

    Parasitic, sycophantic Fake Biden is following his lead by imitating the Trump slogan, “Make America Great Again!”

    Fake Biden hasn’t led anything in 50 years.

  10. Professor Johnathan Turley is trying to prevent radicals from being eaten by their heroes. It’s a noble–and no doubt brave–effort, but so far it’s failing.

    Runaway globalization and immigration, the radicalization of media and education, these are difficult forces for even wise people to challenge.

  11. Why didn’t Comey say they should be shot. Burned or shot the result is the same. Death is qucker when your shot. At least he could show a little mercy. What a fine fellow.

  12. Imagine yourself in a fire. The searing heat against your skin. Slapping your arms to try and put it out. Maybe a more responsible choice of words could have been used by a man of his influence. He planned his words to increase the sales of his book. What a sad day.

    1. this movie is based on one of the many prophetic works of the science fiction author Philip K Dick

      The most interesting thing is not the robotic cars, which are now here. at least in test mode.

      it is the rule of society by corporate oligarchs that have the power of dictators. like our billionaires, the enemy!

      Sal Sar

  13. It is free speech and the more stupid things people like Comey say – the better.

    Comey just proved what a Farce faux impeachment II is.

    1. John say, no it’s not. Comey’s comments are not considered inciteful compared to Trump’s months long speeches and statements inflaming his supporters sentiments. The intent was to get them angry enough for them to do something. Unfortunately for Trump it went too far.

      Comey only proved that there is a difference between long running inflammatory rhetoric and a stand alone opinion.

      1. comey proves that free speech is the privilege of the powerful and that unapproved speech will get you in trouble, but approved speech will get you elevated

        go ahead you worms, like the boots of the billionaires, just as comey does,

        saloth sar

      2. “John say, no it’s not.”
        Becasue you say so.

        “Comey’s comments are not considered inciteful compared to Trump’s months long speeches and statements inflaming his supporters sentiments. The intent was to get them angry enough for them to do something. Unfortunately for Trump it went too far.

        Comey only proved that there is a difference between long running inflammatory rhetoric and a stand alone opinion.”

        You offer an idiotic subjective standard based on your ideological values.

        Your standard is neither the law – nor moral.

        You are litterally proposing “thought crime” – because you are a capable clairvoyand and KNOW what trumps (and Comey’s) thoughts are, you can determine a crime based on thought.

        False. That is immoral and not how the law works.

        Unless the speech specifically advocates violence – it is protected. Trump did not advocate violence. Comey did.
        Unless the advocacy is for immediate violence – it is protected. Trump comes closer to meeting the immediacy test, except there is no request for violence.

        There is no “what did the speaker hope for” test. Nor can their be.

        1. John Say, “Comey only proved that there is a difference between long running inflammatory rhetoric and a stand alone opinion.”

          You offer an idiotic subjective standard based on your ideological values.

          Your standard is neither the law – nor moral.

          You are litterally proposing “thought crime” – because you are a capable clairvoyand and KNOW what trumps (and Comey’s) thoughts are, you can determine a crime based on thought.

          False. That is immoral and not how the law works. ”

          No, here you have a failure to make a simple distinction. Context is the key here. Comey’s statement rhetorical, offering a personal opinion. Trump’s speech was at the end of a long running narrative of accusations and grievances laced with inflammatory claims that were not true. The intent is not difficult to infer because Trump has made it clear multiple times how he feels about outcome of the election. Everyone knows what trump thoughts were. He tweeted them daily. It doesn’t take much to figure out what his thinking was. The context of all of his rhetoric leading up to his now infamous speech and the actions of calling election officials, threats, insults, and outright accusations of crimes being committed clearly made it easy for anyone to know what he was thinking.

          “Unless the speech specifically advocates violence – it is protected. Trump did not advocate violence. Comey did.
          Unless the advocacy is for immediate violence – it is protected. Trump comes closer to meeting the immediacy test, except there is no request for violence.

          There is no “what did the speaker hope for” test. Nor can their be.”

          The crime of incitement doesn’t not have to be a specific threat according to the law. The context and intent behind the rhetoric can be inferred by the courts if it meets the test of inference. Comey did not advocate violence. He opined a personal belief. You admit trump’s own speech did meet the immediacy test because the context in which it was delivered involves a stronger case for intent. A request for violence is not necessary to incite. Provoking a mob without specifically telling it to do something can be done with inferred intent by tone or previous rhetoric. It’s the building of an idea to inspire the action that can be used. It’s the coercive nature of the speech’s tone. That would actually be admissible in court.

          1. Go back and read what I actually wrote.
            You continue to misrepresent what I have said – that is immoral.

            I am not interested in repeating the some facts and law to you over and over only to have you misrepresent them or ignore them.

            You are completely incapable of critical thinking, reading comprehension, and you have no shame about misrepresentation.

            If you do not want insulted, stick to the actual arguments. Do not misrepresent mine or others, and actually think before you write.

            You arguments are circular, and this debate is circular – because you keep spouting the same nonsense over and over.

            Do you doubt that trust in government is at an all time low ?

            That alone is a reason govenrment should be careful how it acts.
            That alone is reason that govenrment should be very careful about elections.

            You claim that government wad not lawless – because well “courts”.
            That is an argument that the lawlessness was worse.

            This is just a website poll – still the results are pretty bad.
            Worse it is after the capital protests.

            https://sharylattkisson.com/2021/01/poll-89-do-not-have-much-trust-in-election-integrity-in-u-s/

          2. A rassmussen poll about 15 days after the election found that 20-30% of democrats beleived the election was stolen.
            That number has since declined – but it is ballanced by an increase in the number of republicans and independents that beleive the election was stolen.

            I would note that the plurality who think the election was stolen and the majority who think there is signifcant fraud have all heard of the assorted court decisions. These people do not trust the elections, they do not trust the courts, and they do not trust the government

            And you are clueless to grasp how significant that is.

  14. Trump will cut an artFay tomorrow at his going away event. He will be near a lighted candle. Boom. The party will be free of it’s leader.

Leave a Reply