Senate Committee Subpoenas Documents From Flynn
Newly-fired FBI Director Comey was long-scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee this morning, but of course now will not. There could be fireworks anyway: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe will be there in Comey’s place. The hearing is set to start at 10 A.M. EDT.
The committee did invite Comey to a closed-door meeting next Tuesday.
The intelligence committee, headed by Republican Richard Burr, and Democrat John Warner, subpoenaed documents from Michael Flynn after the President’s former national security adviser wouldn’t give them over voluntarily. Flynn previously agreed to testify before the committee but only if he was granted immunity. They said no thanks. More subpoenas may be forthcoming, as a Tuesday deadline for submitting documents to the committee came and went, with several Trump associates not complying, although the committee chiefs wouldn’t identify precisely whom.
Washington Post: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Threatens To Resign If President Trump Doesn’t Start Taking Credit
Late late night, the Washington Post reported Rosenstein threatened to quit, after White House staff kept insisting he initiated the plan to fire Comey, not Trump. The initial White House spin suggested Trump was only acting on Rosenstein’s recommendation. (Fox News dutifully produced this “in-depth report” detailing Rosenstein’s “lead role”.) At the same time, White House staff also repeatedly said Trump had been thinking about firing Comey for a long time. Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denounced Comey for committing “atrocities” while investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The New York Times earlier reported Comey recently asked the Justice Department for additional funds so he could aggressively pursue an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the Presidential election. That request was presented directly to Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, who ended up preparing the memo detailing why Comey should be fired.
CNN obtained a letter Comey just sent to his FBI staff. He wrote “I’m not going to spend time on (the President’s) decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either.” So those of you hoping Comey would publicly try to get revenge on Trump may be disappointed.
It’s Not Very Simple, Mr. President, Because You Made It Not Very Simple
President Trump said very little publicly about the firing, limiting his non-Twitter comments to this: “He was not doing a good job. Very simply, he was not doing a good job.”
Perhaps if you had approached the firing with that measured tone, Mr. President, it might’ve been simpler: quietly calling Comey in, asking for his resignation; something like that. But you didn’t. That’s not your way. Instead:
• You were the first to tie-in the Russia investigation by writing a weird letter which essentially said: “You told me a bunch of times I’m not under investigation. Just want people to know that. You’re fired.”
• You, in what was either a massive “like it or lump it” message, or a miscalculated mess, spent the day after the firing parading around the White House with Russian officials. First with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
(Unusual for a foreign minister from any country to sit down with the President in the Oval Office.)
Then a photo op with alleged spymaster and the man at the center of the Michael Flynn scandal, Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
These meetings were obviously scheduled a long time ago, but as someone who is constantly concerned about appearance, really didn’t look good, happening even as your staff was simultaneously insisting FBI Director Comey’s firing had nothing to do with the Russia investigation.
Then, for some reason, you met with Nixon’s Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.
• Your impetuous decision left your staff, and your party, unprepared and flat-footed in their response. The Washington Post reported Press Secretary Sean Spicer hid behind a bush for a time in order to avoid the media. (Many of the Comey-related briefings are being handled by his deputy.) Republicans in Congress seemed befuddled until they mostly lined up behind Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, after he made up an excuse about why a special prosecutor would do more harm than good.
• And you didn’t just fire Comey, you needed to humiliate him. Either you knew he was not in DC or you didn’t bother to find out. So Comey did not receive the letter, in a plain envelope, you had your bodyguard deliver to the FBI. Instead, he found out about it in LA, from TV; then endured an OJ-like ordeal of being followed around by news helicopters. Yes there were many on both sides of the aisle who weren’t fond of Comey, but you came near to turning him into a victim.
• For all the “You’re Fired” lines you delivered on the reality show The Apprentice, it seems you are not very good at actually firing someone.
Putin:Hockey = Trump:Golf
An enterprising CBS News reporter tracked down Vladimir Putin to ask him about the Comey firing, as the Russian President was about to hit the ice. In a brief exchange, Putin seemed playful and informal and off-guard, though he stayed on-message. The Internet made much of the fact that he was in full hockey gear, but we don’t see what the fuss is about: the guy plays hockey. Really no different than tracking down Trump somewhere on a golf course.