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. STEELE DOSSIER WAS ‘NOT’ DISCREDITED

    Turley writes:  “That is an extraordinary assertion based on a widely discredited dossier and the equally discredited Michael Cohen”.

    When Turley refers to the ‘discredited’ Steele dossier, the question becomes, ‘discredited by who’..??  Rightwing media has, of course, cast the dossier as a book of lies.  But mainstream media never demonstrated that the dossier was seriously flawed to the point of being ‘discredited’.  

    Trump has become exactly the loose cannon Christopher Steele envisioned.  The siege on our Capitol essentially validated both the Mueller Probe and the first impeachment.  In fact, Trump’s recent phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State (which was fully recorded) showed us precisely how he pressured President Zelenksy of Ukraine.  Trump’s willingness to flog false election claims was exactly what a foreign agent would do.  Even Richard Nixon conceded to Kennedy when the former might have had a much better case than Trump for challenging an election.  

    When Christopher Steele began compiling his dossier, one can be sure spent many hours googling Trump-related articles from world media.  By 2016 there were already numerous published articles linking Donald Trump to ‘Russian investors’.  Said articles go back to the early 1990’s.  Most of these stories were featured in various business trade papers.  One could have see, from a lengthy google search, that after his Atlantic City bankruptcies, Donald Trump was strongly drawn to Russian investors.  

    Christopher Steele is a native of Great Britain whose original career was spent in that country’s intelligence corps.  In that capacity Steele became a well-recognized expert on Russia.   For years Steele shared his efforts with U.S. Intelligence agencies.  Though Steele’s doubts about Donald Trump were likely based more on Great Britain’s interests than concern for the U.S.  Steele could have easily seen how Trump’s rhetoric (and dependency on Russian investors) was a threat to Western unity.  NATO, in particular, would be highly vulnerable under Trump.  Trump’s call to Zelensky illustrated that Trump was all-too-willing to sell-out a NATO ally.  

    Therefore Trump defenders who claim the Steele Dossier was ‘widely discredited’ have either been asleep these past 4 years, or dwelling in the rightwing bubble.   Donald Trump has proved himself, time and time again, to be either a stooge for Vladimir Putin or a very useful idiot.  

    1. The entire Russia hoax was exposed long ago, ChiCom.

      But now Pooh Bear and China have been exposed, and that is just the tip of the China exposure iceberg.

      Tell Pooh Bear I said hey.

          1. REGARDING ABOVE:

            Rhodes is Estovir, James, Ralph, Thinkthrough, Vietnam Vet, Princess Trohar, MoFo, Em and countless One Day Only names. In fact, about 70% of the comments on this thread are Estovir and his puppets.

    2. When Turley refers to the ‘discredited’ Steele dossier, the question becomes, ‘discredited by who’..??

      Question that should be obvious: Why would it NEED to be discredited? The burden of proof is on the lunatics who asked us to believe it, and they never gave us any reason to credit it in the first place.

      1. Yeah, Anonymous, all Trump’s bankruptcies were no reason to make him court Russian investors. ..Not..!

        1. Can you say California, New York and Illinois? Get your popcorn, oh, and your wallet, ready for those bankruptcies. The public teachers and public workers unions just have to have Range Rovers and Mercedes Benzes permeating their parking lots.

  2. “The Republican party needs to be burned down … It’s just not a healthy political organization.”

    Little comfort for greater than 1 million Uighurs in China who suffer crimes against humanity including genocide that Biden and Democrat leaders have enabled.

    It is concerning what Comey and Democrat leaders consider as un-healthy political organizations while covering for China’s many atrocities against the world, e.g. COVID-19, slavery of ethnic minorities, et al. Democrats care more about money and power than lives of people.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/1/14/china-possibly-committed-genocide-against-xinjiang-muslims

    China possibly committed ‘genocide’ against Xinjiang Muslims

    China has possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, a bipartisan commission of the United States Congress has said in a new report.

    The Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) said on Thursday that new evidence had emerged in the past year that “crimes against humanity – and possibly genocide – are occurring”.

    The CECC also accused China of harassing Uighurs in the US.

    China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as “vocational training centres” to stamp out “extremism” and give people new skills, but others have called them concentration camps.

    The United Nations says at least one million Uighurs and other Muslims have been detained in Xinjiang.

    Faith leaders, activist groups and others have said crimes against humanity, including genocide, are taking place there. Beijing denies abuse accusations.

    1. The leftist comments on this blog seem to have significant agreement with the Chinese Communist Party. Why shouldn’t they? Hasn’t our own social media and high tech companies learned from the Chinese how to follow each individual and censor anything they say that is not in agreement with the CCP.

  3. To the citizens of America:. You must look back and read up on how the German citizens dealt with the end of Hitler and the end of the war. They could not just think: Oh well, we had a dictator. No. They elected him. In America up until Pearl Harbor we in America had The German American Bund. The Bund is back.
    If you are a Jew then flee to Britain.

  4. (music)
    Hello Muddle!
    Hello Fadda!
    Trump has gone to…
    Camp Grenada!
    You remember.. Adolph Hitler…
    He lost the war and never got there.

  5. Song for the inauguration:

    Trump Trump no bump!
    Banana fanna foe Gump!
    Fee fi Moe Trump.
    Trump!
    If the Three Stooges were ever the same…
    We’d elect them all and play the game!

  6. “The Complete List of Trump’s Twitter Insults (2015-2021)”

    By Kevin QuealyJan. 19, 2021

    “As a political figure, Donald J. Trump used Twitter to praise, to cajole, to entertain, to lobby, to establish his version of events — and, perhaps most notably, to amplify his scorn. This list documents the verbal attacks Mr. Trump posted on Twitter, from when he declared his candidacy in June 2015 to Jan. 8, when Twitter permanently barred him. More recent insults are highlighted.”

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/01/19/upshot/trump-complete-insult-list.html

    1. Lets be fair and list all of the Media insults, jibes, barbs, insults, lies, and attacks then do the same for Democrats and see how they stack up to Trump what say.

      Do a balance sheet and see who was the worst offender of propriety, the truth, and showed the worst disrespect shall we….I know where I would put my money.

      When the the calls for Impeachment started the day after the Election was called for Trump….it was attack mode from then on by the Left.

      1. Republicans were calling for Clinton to be impeached before the 2016 election.

        It makes no sense to compare “all of the Media” (huge numbers of people) or “Democrats” (huge numbers of people) with Trump (a single person). Nominate some single person to compare with Trump when it comes to lies and insults. Trump is a pathological liar. If you don’t see that, you don’t want to see it.

        1. “It makes no sense to compare “all of the Media” (huge numbers of people) or “Democrats” (huge numbers of people)”

          You’re right. It definitely makes no sense to compare apples to apples.

          1. You weren’t comparing apples to apples. You were comparing Trump (a single person) to huge groups.

          2. +10

            The left has poisoned public conduct.

            It has migrated from the the far left to democrats and ultimately event to republicans.

            One of the things the left hates they most about Trump is that he behaves like democrats.

        2. Clinton had actually engaged in criminal conduct before the 2016 election.

          Democrats never should have run Clinton.

          Nor should they have run Biden.

          You can claim republicans should not have run Trump – but atleast he did not start the job with plenty of evidence of political corruption self serving misconduct as a public official, and criminal conduct.

      1. “Boxer registered as a foreign agent with the Department of Justice through the lobbying firm she joined last year, Mercury Public Affairs, the Daily Caller reported.

        Hikvision is controlled by state-owned China Electronic Technology Group and its cameras have been installed at internment camps in Xinjiang, where more than a million Uyghurs are being held in horrendous prison-like conditions as forced labor. “

        NY Post

        1. Biden would never let that happen. He believes all men are created equal. Haven’t you looked at his cabinet or listened to what has been said in his name? The forced imprisonment of a million Uyghurs is a right wing myth. In the future saying nonsense like this will add social points to your government account that controls what you are able to do.

  7. Is it possible that there will arise “Biden death squads” (composed of Antifa and BLM activists) to eradicate those citizens identified as Trump Republicans? I expect so, such being the next probable stage in our culture war. What say you?

    1. “What say you?” Please get help with your delusions. Alternative realities end January 20, 2021 12:00 noon.

      1. Yes, unreality begins.

        When is the last time that 26,000 troops vetted for ideological purity were required to inaugurate a president ?

        Even Lincoln did not need this in the midst of the Civil war.

        Face it – 75M people are very unhappy with the left. And many of them are sufficiently resolved to resort to violence.

        You have much the same conditions that resulted in the american revolution.

    2. It is an open question where the next round of violence comes from and who is targeted.

      Anything is possible.

      1. John Say, That sort of presumption has always been said, it will never happen. There is really no point in actually doing that.

        1. What part is it you think will never happen ?

          At Ruby Ridge the government came for Randy Weaver and his guns. that did not go well.

          At Wacco – the government came for David Koresch and his guns. that did not go well.

          Timothy McVeigh’s actions were a response to Ruby Ridge and Wacco.

          So what is it that you think will “never happen” ?

    3. “Is it possible that there will arise “Biden death squads” (composed of Antifa and BLM activists”

      If that’s the best Biden can find to form death squads, no worries.

      1. The fact that democrats are in fear that the military is not sufficiently ideologically pure should be terrifying.

        It means that they beleive they will need the military to hold power,
        and that they are scared that they do not have the support of the military.

  8. “MyPillow CEO and ardent Trump supporter Mike Lindell says his products have been dropped by major retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s after his repeated false claims of voter fraud in the presidential election. … Powell has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
    “In his email to NBC News, Lindell said: “All the evidence against Dominion is before the Supreme Court. … China and others used the machines to corrupt our election! Here is one page of the proof.” The email did not include an attachment. When asked if he had mistakenly omitted it, Lindell sent another email with an empty attachment and a third with screenshots of illegible text.”
    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/mypillow-ceo-mike-lindell-says-products-were-dropped-major-retailers-n1254676?cid=sm_npd_nn_tw_ma

            1. Yep, he follows you around like the mangy dog he is. Gotta run, but I laughed out loud when I saw his response, below. He’ll still be here hours from now…, seeking affirmation… He’s always nipping at your heels. I guess he can’t help himself.

            2. So you say.

              Regardless, make up your mind – either this was a meaningful political act or it was a meaningless economic act.

              My Pillows revenue increased dramatically in 2020.

              1. “My Pillows revenue increased dramatically in 2020.”

                That is evidence. Anonymous the Stupid doesn’t provide any.

                    1. If you claim to be right about something – and others disagree – it is a debate.

                      It is only not a debate when there is no controversy.

                      This is a diverse blog – it is not TPM or DailyKOS.
                      You are not singing to the choir.

                      If you make a claim it will be debated.

                      If you do not like that – find an echo chamber.

  9. My recommendation to Trump supporters and tomorrows ceremonies, just turn your back on these proceedings, and be prepared to test the resilience of American jurisprudence and the Constitution. The most important thing at the moment is the preservation of the First Amendment under attack by the Authoritarian Left.

    1. wrong. the First Amendment is the chief tool by which the billionaires actually maintain their grip on society and it could not be more obvious now. They use it to ever keep us divided and off balance against one another. The two party charade is maintained by them as a constant ruse to conceal their power.

      Let it die. If we are lucky the Democrats will finish it off. A one party state will be the only thing powerful enough to turn on the billionaires in the end, even if it seems to do their bidding now. History is cunning and God’s grace often works reversals

      For now preserve your lives and keep your heads down. Opportunities will come open again. Go to ground for now, fade into the jungle like Victor Charlie.

      Sal Sar

    2. Not a Trump supporter. But a really big opponent of leftist tyranny.

      Lots of things that can be done.

      Nothing comes to mind.

      The left is very good at screwing up on their own.

      Let them.

    3. The most important thing that has to be done right away is completely revise the voting system.

      Otherwise, everything else is just political theater.

      Thanks to how careless and sloppy the perpetrators of the fraud were, it will all be easily exposed.

      Also, the simplest thing individuals can do immediately is disconnect themselves completely from all things to do with FB, Twitter, Google, and Apple.

      https://www.zerohedge.com/political/tech-companies-purge-users-here-are-some-alternatives

      Facebook and Twitter alone have already lost over $50 billion in Market cap as a result of them losing users. That’s just the beginning.

      1. Rhodes, actually the system worked as intended. Some fraud occurred, but the reason why we know is because it was caught. The level of fraud that has been claimed by the president and his supporters has not been proven. That is either a testament to the system’s resiliency or that fraud is not as rampant as it is believed.

        1. “Rhodes, actually the system worked as intended.”

          Nope, and irrelevant.

          No one cares what you think was intended.

          What is REQUIRED is a lawfull fraud free election that is trusted and confers the consent of the governed onto government.

          That did not happen.

          “Some fraud occurred”
          The extent of fraud is not known.

          “the reason why we know is because it was caught.”
          The fraud that has been caught so far is essentially the “walk in fraud” – the people who telegraphed their guilt. The people who behaved stupidly.

          We already know from in person election that only a tiny fraction of a percent of actual election fraud is ever caught.

          Mickey Mouse has voted in every election in the country somewhere. No one has been arrested. The vast majority of inperson fraud must be caught at the polling place or the perpitrator will never be identified.

          Dead people, under age people, fake people, people in other states vote in every election – and no one is caught.

          Please tell me how you can catch the person who voted as mickey mouse ?

          As I said all these things happen every election.

          TX has a reputation of agressively persuing election fraud – but even TX catches only a tiny fraction of fraud, and is not successful in prosecuting most of that.

          Contra the left we know about much more fraud that we can not convict someone of.

          And we will know more over time. Election challanges are typically dismissed because fraud claims are based on voter registration databases – not actual voters. But several months after every election the actual voting records are released.

          In 2016 in NH, about 6500 people without proof of NH residency were allowed to vote. Of those about 2000 subsequently established a record of NH residence. It is unlikely that every single one of the remainder voted fraudulently. It is also improbable that anything less than about half the remainder are not election fraud.

          You heard all the claims of ineligable people voting. That is about 100 times easier in a mailin election.
          Several of the fraud cases pointed out are instances in which someone voted for a dead person.

          Thus far there has been no effort by those with access to voting records to verify that inneligable people – like dead people did not vote.
          But voting records will be made public, and that will happen.
          It will result in very few prosecutions – how do you prosecute such a case ? You can know that a fraudulent ballot was cast – how do you know who cast it ?

          “The level of fraud that has been claimed by the president and his supporters has not been proven.”
          It is the burden of the government to conduct the election such that that level of fraud is not possible.
          BTW the campaign did PROVE that level of fraud was possible.

          States validate voters based on voter registration rolls. The voter registration rolls contain tens of millions of invalid voters nationwide.
          That is not even in question. With the high levels of voting in many of these places we can actually know with certainty that significant fraud occured. In places in MI and WI more than 90% of registered voters voted. If more than 10% of voter registrations are invalid – which is close to the norm nationwide then it is certain that many invalid voter registrations resulted in invalid votes. If less than 100% of actual voters voted – the fraud is even larger.

          “That is either a testament to the system’s resiliency or that fraud is not as rampant as it is believed.”
          Your living in a fantasy world.

          I do expect some of the claims of fraud to turn out to be small. Many will never be thoroughly checked. Many even if proven will be ignored.

          What happened as a result of discovering 4500 invalid votes in the NH election in 2016 ? Nothing. But for me you would not have even heard of it.

      2. The 2020 election process accomplished exactly what democrats want.

        They are going to fight tooth and nail to keep it.

  10. Say what you want about Trump, his words and deeds will continue to be enlarged and magnified by the Democrat Media to the point of absurdity, while Comey represents the grossest form of cynical, bare faced lying to the public and is a prime example of people with no character that are undeservedly promoted in life, because they are the tallest person in the room, the King Saul syndrome.

    1. Democrats are terrified of him.

      If they could they would execute all his hears and sow salt in their fields to be sure there would be no return.

      Trump is their worst nightmare.

      Why is it so hard to imagine they would commit election fraud given all else they have done.

      1. John say, that kind of highly hyperbolic rhetoric has no basis in reality. It is not about being “terrified”. It’s about recognizing that Trump is imply not qualified nor has ever been qualified to be president. His legacy is nothing short of a spectacular series of failures and half a$$ed policies.

        Election fraud in the way you believe happened never did. There has been no credible evidence put forth to prove it. Absence of proof is not proof.

        1. Please – get a grip on reality.

          We have heard from the media, the left, democrats that Trump was going to pardon himself and his family. Rational people like Alan Dershowitz told you that though constitutional that would be highly unlikely.

          And here we are no such pardons. Though I have had problems with some Trump pardons, Overall Trump’s pardon’s are about the most innocuous in 2 decades. Nothing like the Mark Rich pardon or the FALN pardons. The most controversial is Bannon who is being pardonned to protect him from an improper prosecution that should never have happened.

          You rant about hyperbollee – but it is the left that is the king of baseless hyperbollee.

          Regardless, every soldier takes an oath to uphold the constitution – why must soldiers be specially vetted for loyalty to Biden ?

          What rational reason do you have for 26000 troops in the capital for the inauguration ?
          That has never been done. The only possible reason to do so is that Biden is afraid of the people.

          Does it matter if he has good reason to fear or is just paranoid ?

          Grow up – there is no doubt that the left is terrified of the people.

          The capital was not unconstitutionally locked down for no reason.

        2. The qualifications to be president are set in the constitution Trump has met them – as has biden.

          Any further qualifications are determined by the voters. In 2016 65M voters find Trump qualified.
          In 2020 75M did.

          You were free to persaude them otherwise – and you failed. That ship has sailed.

          Beyond that as president Trump demonstrated he was qualified.

          I have cited accomplishments before – but you know them if you are not being blind.

          Regardless the responsibility is Biden’s now.

          Soon enough we will be arguing over Biden’s culpability for the mess we are in.

          There is a long long list of problems coming. Choices Biden will have to make.
          Continue Trump policies – or take responsibility for the consequences of changing them.

          Purportedly Biden is planning on cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline.
          That will result in lawsuits and rising gas prices. It will also reduce our leverage with China and Russia, and our influence in Europe.
          It will drive the europeans back to Russia and the saudi’s

          That is one area – there are many.

          Obama made an inoportune slip regarding unnaccompanied children and within weeks hudreds of thousands were marching towards the US border. Remember the cages for kids were built by Obama not Trump.

          Regardless, Biden faces brutally tough immigration decisions. Merely speaking less rigidly about immigration will result in caravans headed to the southern border. That will certainly make him popular with blue collar voters.

          The economy is incredibly weak right now – and pumping 1.9T more into it will accomplish nothing – beyond creating problems in the future.
          Regardless, Biden and democrats own the economy as of today.

          I can go on and on.
          But it is easier to just allow it to happen.

          The ability of republicans to protect democrats from their own stupidity is near non-existant.

          You will either have to figure out how to be adults and do what works – or make your base happy and watch the country slide.

          Have fun.

  11. read the story of how the FBI helped boston mobster WHITEY BULGER murder his rivals

    https://www.history.com/news/whitey-bulger-fbi-informant

    they HELPED him. that’s your vaunted FBI

    next stop: “the midwestern bank robbers” another FBI penetrated group of criminals. if i feel like retelling it for the tenth time

    wait, instead, how about this one

    https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/how-fbi-violated-privacy-rights-tens-thousands-americans

    FBI is a very scary institution

    Sal Sar

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