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. Surely there’s a legal difference between saying burn down an organisation, and burn down a certain structure. One is clearly metaphorical, the other specific.

    1. Comey’s remarks are not incitement. But they are much closer than Trump’s.

      Rhetorical or not – Comey is calling for violence.

      I am not sure precisely what burn down the Republican party means – but whatever it is, it is violent and carries with it the expectation that people will be subject to violence.

  2. “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.”

    Ask Pelosi. The capitol police LET THEM IN. The whole thing was a setup. Every bit of it stinks.

  3. “He does not understand how the rioters gained access to the Capitol”

    Based on video of the event they were let inside by the capitol police. It is the People’s house, by the way. The ridiculous assertion by the political class that a few of those let inside who participated in some mischief was an “insurrection” continues to be ridiculed by anyone paying attention.

    1. During the Kavanaugh hearing… A large number of protesters pounded on the doors in an attempt to gain entry.
      Yet that was not an insurrection.
      Here. A few gained access and in the videos there were officers nearby.
      In fact when the officer had fired on the woman, not only could he have used less than lethal force, there were several officers in full riot gear and armed w AR-15s / M-16s that could have also stopped her or the person who was trying to climb thru the window.

      The Feds have also walked back the claim that they were trying to capture or kill the congress critters.

      And while the MSM continues to say it was ‘Trump supporters’, one of the ringleaders who has been identified is a guy from Utah who is a BLM and ANTIFA supporter. He also had a CNN/NPR ‘journalist’ embedded with him.

      Kinda kills the narrative that Trump was the cause for this ‘insurrection’.

      When you look at the facts… there are a lot more questions that need to be answered.

      1. While I completely agree with what you said here, I would like to point out one thing. The rifles that those police were carrying were not AR15’s or M16’s. They were the police issue M4’s. AR15 is a civilian rifle and is not used by law enforcement. The M16 is an older outdated style military rifle. Just wanted to point that out

      2. Lets presume that the protesters went in armed. That they broke into the capital. That they intended to “overturn the election”. That is WAS an insurrection.

        Is that legal ? no. Is it the natural consequence of an election that the majority of people do not have confidence in ? Absolutely.

        From before the election – democrats, the left and the courts have actively sought to force a lawless and likely fraud ridden election on us.

        The consequence is the loss of trust in the people.

        While I beleive based on the evidence that the likelyhood of fraud sufficient to turn the election is high. That is not actually the big deal.

        The biggest problem with the election was the brute force lawlessness and the complete failure of the courts to reign it in.

        5 of the 6 key states and 28 of 50 states have constitutional provision requiring secret ballots. Any of those states that conducted a mailin election violated their constitution. Pandemic are NOT an excuse. IF it was purportedly necescary to act outside the constitutions – there was time to do so properly – that was not done. And the courts gave their impramtur to this surrendering trust as they did so.

        Nor was this the end of it. Accross the country election laws were ignored all over the place. This was a massive victory for a democrat election agenda accomplished by executive fiat and judicial comlicity not democratic process.

        The left claims to be about democracy – yet this radical transformation of elections was accomplished highly undemocratically.

        The result was the destruction of trust in government.

        That is what triggers insurections. Why should we be surprised that we had one ?

        When the rule of law is gone – it is gone. You can not expect peole to behave lawfully when government is lawless.

    2. Not only is that true, there is video of the guy with horns being the first int the House Chamber, talking pleasantly with the capital police. Virtually none of these arrest are ever going to trial..

      1. Unfortunately you are incorrect about prosecutions.

        These prosecutions will be in the capital. You will not be able to get a jury that has not decided to convict before being empanneled.

        The Manafort prosecution was a travesty. Nearly all the charges should have been dissmissed outright

        The Stone prosecution was worse.

        Why would you expect any of these protestors to fare better.

        They are going away for a long time for excercising their free speach rights and terrifying the left.

    3. Mostly I agree with you.

      Though what occurred at the capital is complex, nearly all memes are true – and false.

      It was not an insurecction – and it was.

      It was not planned – and it was.

      It was not violent – and it was.

      Protestors did not break in – and they did.

      The Capital police were not prepared – and they were.

      It is near certain that if the expecation and preparation was for a large scale non-violent free speech event, and that like all large scale events there would be a few dangerous people – that this would have had an entirely different outcome – though still one that terrified congress.

      Had the capital police prepared fro large numbers, but kept the building opened as they are obligated to – the govenrment can not restrict free speech, protest, petitioning government, and assembly, protestors could easily have been searched for weapons before being allowed into the capital. Allowed in all the public areas of the building – which is where nearly all went. Chanted and shouted and with near certainty shut down the certification vote for hours, possibly days – all without violence.

      Was this an insurrection ? I have no problem with that characterization. It was a direct challenge to an illegitimate government.
      That is what you get when election results are not trusted.

      We should own that not run from it.

  4. The leftists have gotten way over their skis and exposed themselves as domestic terrorists and a true threat to our republic.

    The republican party is dead, at least the version of Mitch McConnell. Trump and MAGA is the new GOP will be a political force for generations to come. The election fraud and the ensuing totalitarian moves by the fringe left has exposed a divide in this country that is causing the MAGA movement to grow. Inflammatory comments like these from Comey only expose the fear that the corrupt political class has for We the People. The Comey’s of the world know they are on the losing side of history.

    Comey lacks any credibility to make any kind of threat towards the American people. Trying to push this old and thoroughly discredited Russia hoax, that newly released FBI documents validate was always a hoax, shows a pathetic desperation.

    1. Trump is no one’s stooge.
      He is his own worst enemy.
      Had he been more judicious with his tweets and worked on how he addressed people… He would still be in office.

      We know the election was stolen.

      The SCOTUS cases will show this.
      They need to proceed in order to fix 2022.

      1. I have no idea what SCOTUS will do.

        Make no mistake that the democratic threat to stack the courts is not gone. Even if it never happens it will directly effect Roberts and SCOTUS.

        As cases come before SCOTUS – Biden and the Senate will be glaring at the court with the implication do as we demand or we will get what we want by fiat.

        Regardless, SCOTUS had the best oportuity to deal with this, with the PA election case BEFORE the election.

        It should have been a no brainer to tell the state of PA that it must follow its own laws and constitution in Federal elections.

        The next key case was TX vs states. Merely hearing that would have sent a signal for states to get in line.

        The simplest TX decision would have been something on the order of “We can not fix this after the election – that is up to congress, they can certify or not, but we can assert that it will never happen again – that in federal elections states MUST follow their own constitutions and laws. lawless government can not be tolerated”

    2. Not going to war with someone doesn’t make you their stooge. He signed off on military aid to Russia’s enemies. Unlike Obama he didn’t extend that aid to Islamic fundamentalists trying to recreate the Caliphate in Syria. That’s not stooge territory. He even signed on to the ridiculous conspiracy theory about Russian spies poisoning a scientist in England.

      1. The term ‘conspiracy theory’ does not mean what you fancy it means. The nerve agent used to poison them is not a naturally occurring chemical.

    1. How so ?

      It is claims like this that under cut your own intelligence.

      Trump has acted in the interests of the US.

      The majority of those actions have disadvantaged Putin.

      Further Russia is slipping into being a third world country – no one would care about them but for their vast stockpile of nuclear weapons.

      They are increasingly not much of a military power. While they have designed some of the most sophisticated military equipment in the world, they can not produce it and they can not sell it. Their older equipment is rusting in place.
      Their military ability diminishes with each year.

      Much of that was happening regardless of Trump.
      That said Obama acted to slow that process, Trump acted to accelerate it.

      Regardless, Russia is only consequential in the heads of neocons, cold warriors and muddled thinkers who can not figure out that Russia never wanted Trump – as Putin is not nearly as stupid as the idiots selling the Collusion delusion.

      The Trump/Russia story requires beleiving that Putin would act against the interests of his own country, and that Trump is capable of espionage tradecraft that would put James Bond to shame.

      Just because you WANT to beleive something – does not make it true or even not total nonsense.

      Russia did not want Trump as president. Because Putin is not an idiot. Trump has been bad for Russia, and that was predictable.
      Not because Trump hates Russia. But because putting america first is not in the interests of Russia

  5. ‘Folks, Joe Biden helped spy on Trump at his way in (infamous 1/5/17 meeting in the Oval) and Biden is hitting Trump on his way out (by welcoming impeachment).

    Biden is as nasty apolitical hack as they come.

    It’s politics. It’s Washington. All cool but don’t pretend otherwise.’

    @yossigestetner

    1. Truth: Biden is a nasty political hack as corrupt as they come. He got away with everything. His dirtbag son and brother too. The Swamp wins again.

      1. This is not over – by a long shot. But it is time to allow Biden and cronies to self destruct on their own.

  6. Pardons for Assange and Snowden?

    Nope.

    “Trump ultimately decided against a series of other controversial pardons that he had also been considering, including for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden and the president’s own personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has not been charged with a crime but whose consulting business has come under scrutiny as part of an investigation by federal prosecutors in Manhattan.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-pardons/2021/01/20/7653bd12-59a2-11eb-8bcf-3877871c819d_story.html

      1. Of course he did.

        I hate McConnell but he is normally politically astute.

        Democrats have substantially raised the stakes.
        There is no room in the GOP for accomodations with neo-cons.

        The deep state is the enemy of the GOP and that is not getting fixed by a few Chenney’s trying to placate them.

        The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
        Assange should have been pardoned.

        He never should have been prosecuted.

        Republicans have never been strong defenders of free speech.
        They need to get their act together – that is biting them in the ass right now.
        It is well past time for them to grasp that free speech is the most powerful weapon they have.

    1. Trump broke the long tradition of presidents pardoning scum at the end of their term.
      No terrorists pardoned, No multi-million dollar pardons.
      Not even any controversial pardon’s.

      There are a small number of Trump pardon’s over the course of his term I disagree with – Sherrif Joe as an example.

      But Trump has inarguably used his Pardon power to give mostly ordinary people an opportunity and to correct politically corrupt prosecutions.

      Further we have heard for years that he would pardon himself, his family, etc. And he did not.

      Clearly those on the left have absolutely no clue who Trump is.
      You have ranted and raved for years over the things he MIGHT do that were never even considered.

      A faux Trump owns huge space in their heads.

      1. They “got away with it” by substantially further eroding trust in government.

        This was an incredibly dangerous action.

        Worse they are actively trying to supress political dissent. If successful that will drive violence and extremism.
        If not it will increase anger and the perception of illegitimacy.

        To quote those on the left

        “Not My President”

  7. Edward Snowden
    @Snowden

    “Look at how overwhelming public support is for an Assange pardon—in EVERY poll like this—and think about what it says about any President who refuses to shut down THE most dangerous legal case in the journalism because he’s afraid of criticism from the worst people in government.”

    Quote Tweet
    🇺🇸ERIC BOLLING🇺🇸
    @ericbolling

    · Jan 18

    White House “sources” telling reporters @wikileaks #JulianAssange won’t get a Presidential pardon.

    Should Assange be granted a pardon?
    Show this poll

    5:42 PM · Jan 18, 2021·Twitter Web App

    https://twitter.com/Snowden/status/1351314169715421184

    Poll:

    https://twitter.com/ericbolling/status/1351239322817732608

    1. So Trump pardoned an innocent man being viciously politically prosecuted for a non-crime.

      I am not a Bannon fan – but his prosecution was pure political corruption.

      There is no victim there is no crime.
      There is not a single left wing not organization that even comes close to the efficiency of Bannon’s organization.

      They offered donors their money back – none took it.

  8. ‘The best way for POTUS Trump to fight the Russiagate scam is to free Julian Assange. He alone knows the source of the DNC emails; he was willing to provide key info until Comey intervened to stop him.

    Freeing Assange wouldn’t just anger fraudsters like Comey — it would expose them.’

    @aaronmate

    (Most of the country would love nothing more than to expose what a snake James Comey really is and to free Julian. Do it, do it, do it…..)

    1. He should have – and Snowden as well. He did not.

      My guess is there are too many neocons in the Senate.

  9. 12 National Guard members released from Capitol duty because of connections with right wing groups.

    Seems like the new Biden administration is more afraid of the American Army than the Russian or Chinese armies.

    1. Seems like you have an overactive imagination.

      Biden doesn’t control these decisions. He isn’t yet President. 12 NG members isn’t the US Army.

      1. Which is it – the president controls the NG or he does not ?

        If you are going to blame Trump for not doing something that he did.
        You are stuck with Biden being responsible.

        Regardless, Biden is the faux president. It is his regime.
        As with Trump he is responsible for EVERYTHING.

        He is responsible for things he has not power over – such as the poor public health choices of the states.
        He is responsible for the pandemic – because he is president.

        You spent 4 years telling us that Trump was responsible for everything – well now Biden is.

        If the NG is purging members for political reasons – Biden is responsible.

        BTW that is precisely what is occuring.

        McCarthy sought to purge the government and the military of commiunists and communist sympathizers.

        There is no difference between purging the military of people associated with “right wing groups”.
        Should the military purge itself of muslim’s because nearly all US terrorism is from muslims ?

        Aren’t all muslims associated with “extremist muslims” ?

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