Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Anyone still think that Comey and, separately, the NYC FBI ‘indictment’ fabricator DIDN’T violate the Hatch Act?* [UPDATED BY EDWARD SNOWDEN. SERIOUSLY.]

If so, Kellyanne Conway is not among you.

How many of those spiking early votes by Republicans last week in Colorado, especially, but also in Nevada and Arizona, can be attributed to Comey and the NYC FBI leaker?  Apparently, Conway has a pretty damn good idea.

So do I.  There’s an extremely close contest for Colorado’s 6th District House seat between uber-winger Mike Coffman and uber-progressive Morgan Carroll that I’ve been watching pretty closely.  How much did Republican voting spike in that district between Oct. 28 and, well, yesterday?

One thing I’ve noticed in all this talk about whether Obama can, as a matter of practical politics, fire Comey, and if he does not, whether Clinton can—as a matter of practical politics—is how starkly ingrained it is in American political culture to consider only the right’s political grievances.

But, guess what?  That’s now changed.  BIGLY.

BIGLY.

And if the Dems do gain control of the Senate, the Judiciary Committee should hold hearings into this.  Comey should be accompanied by a lawyer.

And the questions should not be limited to matters directly related to Clinton.  This guy has some really strange views of the law itself. And not just the law concerning the actual legal mandate of the Director of the FBI, although he truly does.  He also seems confused about the very concept of evidence.

And then there’s that problem that, accepting him at his word, he doesn’t know what the meaning and the purpose of testimony “under oath” are.  (Which will be a convenient defense against Hatch Act violation allegations.)  I mean … good grace.

For starters.

____

*I inserted the word “separately” into the title after initial posting, because Comey’s acts are distinct from that NYC agent’s. By last Wednesday, when that agent leaked that fabrication, Comey already was in the middle of the hurricane he had started the Friday before, and surely played no role in that leak.  Added 11/7 at 11:56 a.m.

 

____

UPDATE: Update.

The FBI took its sweet time in updating Comey, or Comey took his time in updating Congress. Seems like a fielder’s choice.

This while early voting was underway in most states.

Updated 11/7 at 12:07 p.m.

Here’s a more comprehensive update, by William Oremus at Slate, posted about an hour ago.

Updated 11/7 at 3:18 p.m.

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So, how’d that transparency thing work out for ya, Director Comey?

Oh.  But … wait.  Wait.  You must mean that neither Adedin nor Weiner had any idea that 30,000 of Abedin’s personal emails found their way onto Weiner’s laptop, notwithstanding that Abedin did not use the laptop and for the four years when she and Clinton were at the State Dept. spent most of the time out of the country with Clinton or in her State Dept. office.  Using her own laptop for emails.

So the question remains: How did those emails get onto Weiner’s laptop?  Do tell.

Transparency, you know.

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I RETRACT MY RETRACTION: A cabal of NYC FBI agents (including, or solely, Bret Baier’s false “indictment” leaker), may well have PLANTED those emails on Weiner’s laptop–

possibly at the behest of Rudy Giuliani or James Kallstrom, or both, who ARE part of the cabal’s conspiracy to violate the Hatch Act (to name just one of a slew of federal criminal statutes these folks have violated).*

Did NYC FBI Agents Plant Those Emails on Weiner’s Computer Once They Gained Custody of It?  The Evidence Appears to Suggest … Possibly.

– Me, in a post bearing that as its title, Oct. 30

I retracted that the next day, writing, “As for me, I want to forcefully retract my suggestion in this post yesterday that NYC FBI agents working on the Weiner case may have planted the emails of Weiner’s computer.”

And now I am retracting the retraction.

At 1:03 a.m. on Thursday, the Daily Beast published a detailed investigative report by Wayne Garrett  titled “Meet Donald Trump’s Top FBI Fanboy” and subtitled “Trump supporters with strong ties to the agency kept talking about surprises and leaks to come—and come they did.”

The words “‘Integrity Questioned’” appear above the title in small red lettering.  It is a quote from this paragraph in the article:

Along with Giuliani’s other connections to New York FBI agents, his former law firm, then called Bracewell Giuliani, has long been general counsel to the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA), which represents 13,000 former and current agents. The group, born in the New York FBI office in the early ’80s, was headed until Monday by Rey Tariche, an agent who just retired from the New York FBI office. In Tariche’s letter to the Association stepping down as president because he’s retiring from the Bureau to take a job “within the Banking Industry,” he wrote that “we find our work—our integrity questioned” because of it, adding “we will not be used for political gains.”

The paragraphs preceding that one read:

Hours after Comey’s letter about the renewed probe was leaked on Friday, Giuliani went on a radio show and attributed the director’s surprise action to “the pressure of a group of FBI agents who don’t look at it politically.”

“The other rumor that I get is that there’s a kind of revolution going on inside the FBI about the original conclusion [not to charge Clinton] being completely unjustified and almost a slap in the face to the FBI’s integrity,” said Giuliani. “I know that from former agents. I know that even from a few active agents.”

I follow political news quite closely, yet it wasn’t until late last night that I knew of the Daily Beast article, when I read a comment in the Comments thread to this post of mine, linking to it.

What did get a lot of publicity is Bret Baier’s Wednesday announcements fabricated by what turned out to be the concoction of a single NYC FBI agent.  Roger Stone may have played a role in it, but Kallstrom and Giuliani almost certainly did.  Giuliani knew a couple of days before Baier’s false reports that these would occur.

In addition to conspiracy to violate the Hatch Act, these people have violated a slew of federal criminal statutes including wire fraud, misuse of government property and personnel, and conspiracy to commit those crimes.

So here’s what I would like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to ask millennials when they campaign today, tomorrow and Monday for Clinton AND Senate and House candidates: Why on earth do they think that the sudden discovery of Huma Abedin’s email correspondence with Clinton on Anthony Weiner’s laptop—however it got there—should entitle Donald Trump to control the FBI, the entire Justice Department, the Supreme Court, and the lower federal courts?

As well as painting with a Republican-controlled Senate and a Republican-controlled House?

Weirdly, apparently this isn’t a rhetorical question.  Read the comments of millennials in this article.

They’re just too disgusted with politics, you know, to care who is president and who controls congress, who controls the federal agencies, who controls the Supreme Court, and who controls the entire federal bench, and their own state’s legislatures, see.

Bernie and Elizabeth, please inform them on this.  Loudly.

The transformation of the FBI into a government investigative arm and innuendo and false or partial information arm of the Republican Party during elections is a profound matter. And the decision by the FBI director to announce that federal and state law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies should be “transparent” by announcing raw, unformed, and uncertain information about candidates for public office on the eve of elections so that voters will know about it when they vote is serious banana republic stuff.

Comey almost certainly will resign shortly after the election.  Succumbing to extortionate threats of leaks by some of the agency’s agents and making a series of ridiculous claims that the devil, er, the law, made him do it, while also outright stating to the agency’s entire employment roster and therefore to all the world that he acted as he did in part to provide voters with in formation he thought they should have before they voted, would, I assume, sort of make it hard for him to remain in that post.

And maybe these faint-of heart millennials should care whether or not it is Trump or Clinton who names the next FBI director.  And whether its a Democratic-controlled, or instead a Republican-controlled, Senate that holds (or doesn’t) confirmation hearings on this nominee.  And Supreme Court an lower-federal court judicial nominees. 

But if that involves just tooooo complex an analysis for them to engage in, there is that email thing that is a handy excuse.

Apparently.

*Post title edited for clarity. 11/5 at 3:23 p.m.

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The New Transparency in Government Will Make America Great Again. Believe Me. [Links repaired, 11/5 at 11:29 a.m.]

The people familiar with the investigation said that senior officials had been informed weeks earlier that a computer belonging to former congressman Anthony Weiner, D-New York, contained emails potentially pertinent to the Clinton investigation. Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, shared the computer with her husband, from whom she is now separated.

….

It is unclear what FBI agents have learned since discovering the emails in early October. But officials say they gained enough information from the email metadata to take the next step, seeking a warrant to review the actual emails. That legal step prompted Comey’s letter to Congress, which has made him a central figure during the stretch run of the presidential campaign.

“He needed to make an informed decision, knowing that once he made that decision, he was taking it to another level,” an official with knowledge of the decision-making process said.

FBI leaders knew about new emails for weeks before Comey letter, Sari Horwitz, Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, Nov. 2 at 7:37 p.m.

 

 

When it was revealed last Friday that there had been a Comey recount and Clinton lost, Solomon turned into Torquemada. But, of course, Comey had no choice. How could he have sat on a trove of 650,000 newly discovered emails and kept that knowledge suppressed until after the election?

Final days, awful choice, Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, today

The Horwitz and Yakashima article was published online not just by the Washington Post and in its print edition yesterday, but also (apparently) by other newspapers.  The link for it that I’m using is to the Chicago Tribune website.  Presumably, it appeared also in yesterday’s print edition, along with all the good stuff about the Cubs’ 10th inning Series victory.

I pause here to say to the Cubs on behalf of my late, lifelong-Cubs-fan relatives: Thanks.

But along with that big sports story, there was this: The three paragraphs I quote above contain two profound misstatements—the error in the first of those paragraphs the apparent result of a quick, (I believe) verbatim, copy-and-paste by these journalists from the original, breaking story on Comey’s letter to Congress and quickly afterward, his email to FBI employees.

The letter in which Comey actually said he had sent the letter partly because he wanted to influence voters’ vote choices by providing them with the information in the letter—a fact that has received little press attention and none, to my knowledge, from Clinton and down-ballot Democrats.

Information, during early voting in more than 20 states and absentee voting in every state, and 11 days from the election itself, that Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, shared the computer with her husband, from whom she is now separated.

Information that Comey sent the letter to Congress after a search warrant was obtained and agents had had time to learn information about the metadata—inferentially including the approximate number of emails involved.

The first of those representations is almost certainly wrong, the second unequivocally wrong.

And Krauthammer, a nationally syndicated columnist, is unequivocally wrong, about two things: That, of course, Comey had no choice. And that all, or even remotely close to all, of the 650,000 emails on Weiner’s personal computer were emails between Abedin and Clinton.  The claim is logically absurd, and the leaks from the FBI since Friday estimate that about 30,000 of them are to or from Abedin.

The Washington Post’s story on the emails issue today does not repeat those errors.  But neither does it expressly correct its report from the day before, and say that it is a correction.  It should do this, online today and in print in Sunday’s paper.

Also widely reported over a period of several days, by many, many news organizations, was that Abedin had received a subpoena for all electronic devices she had used to send or receive emails about State Dept. matters, or to or from Clinton.  Yesterday, it was reported that that, too, is false.

The news outlets that reported the misinformation should prominently correct it.

But my immediate point is this: Every one of these errors by the journalists who made them—with the exception of Krauthammer’s—was absolutely understandable as inference from Comey’s two public messages on Friday.

But the larger point is that Comey told all the world that law enforcement prosecutorial powers of raw information- and evidence-gathering via the various means available only to law enforcement—including search warrants, grand jury testimony, informants, and plea bargaining deals—are now available to the public if a law enforcement officials or rank-and-file employees opt for transparencyAt least if a partisan legislative body has subpoenaed a law enforcement investigative-agency official about an ongoing or closed investigation, and in answering a query during his or her testimony, promises real-time release of any further information or evidence, even before it is known what, if anything at all, the information means that is relevant.

Presumably, this applies in investigations of pretty much anyone or anything. Irrespective of its political potential.  But a rule of thumb is that, the closer to an election, and the less known about what the information actually is and whether it is relevant to anything other than political smear, and the higher the office of the candidate at issue, the freer law enforcement officials and rank-and-file employees are to make it known to the public.

As Krauthammer and Comey both say: Of course.

Hope y’all  agree.  Cuz this is a genie that may be impossible to put back in the bottle.

But I do wonder about this: Isn’t it conservatives—Republicans—who are always raising shouting, “Separation of Powers!  Separation of Powers!”

Guess that, too, is no longer true.  Right?

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James Comey Must Go

Sari Horwitz and Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post report

Senior FBI officials were informed about the discovery of new emails potentially relevant to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server at least two weeks before Director James B. Comey notified Congress, according to federal officials familiar with the investigation.

The officials said that Comey was told that there were new emails before he received a formal briefing last Thursday, although the precise timing is unclear.

The information goes beyond the details provided in the letter that Comey sent to lawmakers last week declaring that he was restarting the inquiry into whether Clinton mishandled classified material during her tenure as secretary of state. He wrote in the Friday letter that “the investigative team briefed me yesterday” about the additional emails.

Almost everyone who read Comey’s letter was mislead because “briefed me yesterday” is truth and nothing but the truth, but not the whole relevant truth. The word “yesterday” is accurate, but its only effect is to mislead. The statement “I was told something about the e-mails yesterday” is not logically inconsistent with “and also weeks ago,” but the normal rules for understanding ordinary English imply an interpretation inconsistent with the facts. James Comey is a very skilled lawyer. He knew what he was doing. He deliberately mislead Congress.

More importantly, the anonymous FBI personal talking to the Post can’t get their story straight.

Comey did not notify Congress as soon as he learned about the emails because officials wanted additional information before proceeding, the officials said.

If they were willing to follow proper Justice Department procedures, they would have also wanted, indeed insisted, that the election pass before proceeding.

But now everything is different because metadata.

Even after Comey received the desired information, major questions still remain — for instance, how many emails are related to Clinton or contain classified information.

[skip]

It is unclear what FBI agents have learned since discovering the emails in early October. But officials say they gained enough information from the email metadata to take the next step, seeking a warrant to review the actual emails.

Comey also needed to get out of the period of 60 days before an election to take the next step. I assume that it was legal for the FBI to look at meta data. But it sure doesn’t seem that they have at least 2s weeks looking at metadata. it is clear what FBI agents haven’t learned since discovdring the e-mails. The sender and recipient of an e-mail are metadata. They should know if any of the e-mails were sent to or received from Hillary Clinton.

The current FBI position is that they learned something in the last two weeks of October *and* that they know nothing nothing. The anonymous source is taking advantage of the facts that he or she is anonymous (and not under oath). The explanation of the delay of over two weeks but not 11 days more is plainly false. Horwitz and Nakashima pretty much write this. In Postspeak “It is unclear” means “he’s lying” (or “she’s lying” but certainly not “s/he’s lying” because the “s/he” is even more unacceptable than the “lying”).

The utter contempt for Justice Department rules is underlined by this quote from the liar

“He needed to make an informed decision, knowing that once he made that decision, he was taking it to another level,” an official with knowledge of the decision-making process said.”

He absolutely did not need to make a decision about whether to seek a warrant until next Wednesday. After making that decision, he was forbidden by department rules to take it to another level.

I’m shifting to wild speculation after the jump.

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Yup. Comey’s a Goner.

President Obama briefly addressed the FBI’s reopened investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices for the first time, saying in an interview posted Wednesday that the agency does not “operate on innuendo” and emphasizing that there is no evidence that the Democratic presidential nominee had violated the law.

“I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations we don’t operate on innuendo, and we don’t operate on incomplete information, and we don’t operate on leaks,” Obama said in the interview with NowThis News, which was filmed Tuesday. “We operate based on concrete decisions that are made. When this was investigated thoroughly last time, the conclusion of the FBI, the conclusion of the Justice Department, the conclusion of repeated congressional investigations, was she had made some mistakes but that there wasn’t anything there that was prosecutable.”

Obama on FBI: ‘We don’t operate on innuendo’, David Nakamura, Washington Post, today at 11:46 a.m.

I’m sooo glad that President Obama reads Angry Bear.

Now, Mr. Obama, please read this post of mine.  And this one of mine.  Because you may be the only one who make these points and make them heard, before any more days of early voting go by.

And btw, although I certainly have some issues with Hillary Clinton but unequivocally supported her all along once she won the nomination, the intensity of my support is greater right now than at any earlier point.

I cannot–cannot–overstate the depth of my anger toward Comey.

Cannot.

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The Mad Hatter Columbia U. Law Prof. Who Advised Comey That He Needed to Destroy the Village In Order to Save It* – UPDATED (His name is Daniel C. Richman.)

Daniel C. Richman, an adviser to Mr. Comey and a Columbia University law professor, argued that despite the backlash, Mr. Comey’s decision to inform Congress preserved the F.B.I.’s independence, which will ultimately benefit the next president. “Those arguing that the director should have remained silent until the new emails could be reviewed — even if that process lasted, or was delayed, until after the election — give too little thought to the governing that needs to happen after November,” Mr. Richman said. “If the F.B.I. director doesn’t have the credibility to keep Congress from interfering in the bureau’s work and to assure Congress that a matter has been or is being looked into, the new administration will pay a high price.”

Former senior law enforcement officials in both parties, though, say Mr. Comey’s decision to break with Justice Department guidelines caused these problems. Had he handled the case the way the F.B.I. handled its investigations into the Clinton Foundation and Mr. Manafort over the summer, the argument goes, he would have endured criticism from Republicans in the future but would have preserved a larger principle that has guided cases involving both parties. …

F.B.I.’s Email Disclosure Broke a Pattern Followed Even This Summer, Matt Apuzzo, Michael S. Schmidt, Adam Goldman and William K. Rashbaum, New York Times, today

Gotta say, Comey comes off in this Washington Post article today as dumber than a rock.

– Me, here, yesterday

The particular part of that Washington Post article yesterday, by Ellen Nakashima, that I had most in mind was this:

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Do be sure to watch this video news clip on CNBC, folks

The first part of the video news clip (h/t Paul Waldman), by CNBC correspondent Eamon Javers, is smoking-gun stunning.  And sickening.  Just watch the video or read the accompanying article.

The second part of it, which is a clip of White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, sure seems to me that for all his hesitation and careful wording, Earnest hints that Obama will fire Comey right after the election.

As for me, I want to forcefully retract my suggestion in this post yesterday that NYC FBI agents working on the Weiner case may have planted the emails of Weiner’s computer.

When I wrote that post, the reporting was that the emails at issue numbered about 1,000.  Today it is reported that they number in the tens of thousands—a number almost certainly not within the capacity of investigative FBI agents who are not computer forensics experts to gain access to and put onto a hard drive without it being obvious that that is what happened.  And it’s also now been reported that the agents knew of the emails on the laptop shortly after they took custody of it; the emails were on the hard drive shortly after the FBI took custody of it.

I wrote that post in reaction to the report early yesterday that Abedin has told friends and colleagues that she does not know how the emails came to be on Weiner’s personal computer–something that rings awfully likely to be true, given the enormous number of her personal emails that are now on Weiner’s personal computer.

I wrote here today that in light of today’s information, it appears far more likely that it was Russia that pulled this off than that it was an FBI-agent job.

The Oct. 7 report issued jointly by the NSA and Homeland Security Department stating their conclusion that Russia is responsible for the massive hacks of emails of the Democratic Nationals Committee, Clinton campaign officials and other organizations connected to Clinton or the Democratic Party, and was done with the intent to disrupt the national election—which is the focus of the CNBC report and is quoted in the video—has received almost no attention from the press.

That, I trust, will change now.  Oh, the irony.

Although, of course, you never know.

So Clinton and the Democrats should run ads showing that CNBC clip.  Big ad buys for it on the internet and TV would be good.

And BTW, the CNBC little bombshell nails it that Harry Reid was right about Comey and the Hatch Act, in my opinion.

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Several thoughts about Paul Krugman’s NYT column today – UPDATED regarding the Fourth Amendment issue, and (separately) the suddenly real possibility that Putin had the emails planted on Weiner’s laptop

Paul Krugman’s column today titled “Working the Refs,” which I linked to this morning in this post, is absolutely wonderful for its account of the breadth of what amounts to largely successful attempts at movement-rightwing takeover of so very much of American public life—journalism reportage and editing methodology, political punditry, decisonmaking by college and university academic hiring committees, self-styled-centrist fiscal policy organizations. (There is also the courts, but that’s really a separate matter.)

But there are two points I want to make about statements in his column.  One concerns the nature of Comey’s misconduct, which Krugman describes as violating “longstanding rules about commenting on politically sensitive investigations close to an election; and [doing] so despite being warned by other officials that he was doing something terribly wrong.”

That is only part of it, albeit the most immediately harmful part.  But pundits, and the public, should understand that it is a profound misuse of government investigatory and prosecutorial powers to release to the public raw information obtained through compulsory, and secret, investigatory information gathering—information gained through search warrants, grand jury testimony, etc.—and that this is so not only for politically sensitive investigations.

Comey’s deliberate decision, his acknowledged motive, to affect voters’ decisonmaking in an imminent election strikes me as criminal misconduct, as does the release of raw investigatory information irrespective of its political intent.  But these are two distinct issues, of equal importance.

Then again, as I said here yesterday, by Comey’s definition of cover-up, he is engaging in it, as Harry Reid noted in the letter he released yesterday.

I also want to point readers to Orin Kerr’s Washington Post blog post from yesterday titled “Was it legal for the FBI to expand the Weiner email search to target Hillary Clinton’s emails?”  Kerr blogs at the Washington Post’s The Volokh Conspiracy blog, whose contributors all are former law clerks to Republican-appointed justices, and current law professors.  All are center-right libertarians. Kerr, perhaps the least right of them is a law professor at George Washington University and a former law clerk for Anthony Kennedy. 

Kerr’s post begins:

FBI Director James B. Comey recently announced that the FBI had discovered new emails that might be relevant to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server. The emails were discovered in an unrelated case, and the FBI now plans to search through the emails as part of the Clinton server investigation.

Comey’s announcement raises an important legal question: Does expanding the FBI’s investigation from the unrelated case to the Clinton case violate the Fourth Amendment?

We don’t know all the facts yet, so it’s somewhat hard to say. But here’s why the expansion of the investigation might be constitutionally problematic. Consider this a tentative analysis unless and until more facts emerge.

He goes on to raise two Fourth Amendment concerns, one which he says, and I agree, seems sort of weak, the other which he says is a significant concern, his take on which is the same as mine in the comments thread to this post.

The FBI obtained a search warrant late yesterday, so the judge who granted it thought the Fourth Amendment wasn’t a bar to it.  But it should be noted that Comey issued his announcement before a search warrant was obtained and in the face of a potential Fourth Amendment issue that might have prevented the FBI from obtaining one.

The other point concerns Krugman’s awesome recitation, yet again, of how deficit mania grabbed a stranglehold on elite policymakers and so-called public intellectuals for so very, very long—and how devastating it has been throughout the last decade.  What he doesn’t mention—appropriately, I think, in that column, whose point is much larger, but inappropriately in any discussion by him (there have been many) of Hillary Clinton and her candidacy in the two or three weeks since a stolen WikiLinks document—this one, a transcript of a paid speech by her to (I think) Morgan Stanley in 2013—in which she says she supports the really awful Bowles-Simpson proposal that Krugman has deconstructed so often since it was announced years ago.

I do get his reluctance during this campaign to address that.  And Clinton clearly has reversed her views on virtually everything in that proposal, a change on her part that I believe is genuine.  But what angers me about Krugman’s consistent refusal to acknowledge this and other significant changes in Clinton’s policy positions, prompted to a significant extent initially by Bernie Sanders’ campaign—not least the healthcare insurance “public option” proposal”, which Clinton should campaign on at rallies—is Krugman’s borderline-vile attacks on Sanders during the primary season.

Clinton’s win in this election will be based on the sheer awfulness of Donald Trump and on the policy proposals Clinton adopted last summer because of the strength of Bernie’s campaign.  All that matters now is a Clinton victory and Democratic control of the Senate and large gains in the House.  And I plead with Bernie, with Elizabeth Warren, with Michelle and Barack Obama, to campaign maniacally for these candidates in the now-waning days of this campaign.

___

UPDATE:  About an hour ago, Politico posted a lengthy discussion of the Fourth Amendment issue, by Josh Gerstein, Politico’s legal-issues correspondent.

Gerstein’s article also discusses the fact that Abedin says she does not know how what appears now to be a huge trove of emails of Abedins came to be on Weiner’s personal computer–an issue I discussed here yesterday in a post suggesting the possibility that NYC FBI agents planted it on Weiner’s computer after they gained custody of it.

But Gerstein’s article notes this: that Abedin had an email account on Clinton’s server.  Is it a reach to now suspect that Putin planted those emails on Weiner’s computer and planned somehow to make public just before the election that State Dept. emails are on Weiner’s computer hard drive?  As I mentioned in the Comments thread yesterday on my earlier post, in response to a joke by a reader’s comment, I’d considered that possibility by rejected it as implausible.

It’s now not at all implausible.  And it makes it imperative that, as Harry Reid demanded in his public letter to Comey yesterday, the Justice Department release the information it and other national security agencies have indicating direct coordination between Trump, or people on behalf of Trump, and Putin.

Adedin and Clinton and the Democratic National Committee should file an emergency court petition requesting a court order requiring release of that information.  I absolutely mean that.

And as I suggested in my earlier post, they should petition a court to allow private computer forensics experts, along with FBI forensics experts from an office far from NYC and Washington, DC. to examine the computer in order to determine when and how those emails came to be on it.

I absolutely mean that, too.

And please remember: Trump kept saying that Abedin was a State Dept. security risk because Weiner would have access to her emails.  He’s now saying he called it correctly.  The court petition should note this.

____

PS: Since I’m more or less the legal-issues guru on this blog, I want to point readers to Jennifer Rubin’s blog post on this, with which I agree in every respect.

And since I’m also one of the political-issues gurus here, I want to recommend two perfect political cartoons, one by Tom Toles, the other by Ann Telnaes.

Added 10/31 at 4:08 p.m.

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WHY OBAMA SHOULD FIRE COMEY*: Comey himself makes clear that he either does not understand what a law enforcement cover-up IS, or he knows what it is but acted out of fear that others may not. That’s a profoundly dangerous message to law enforcement and prosecutors nationwide. As well as to the public.

According to senior F.B.I. officials, Mr. Comey felt that he would be breaking his pledge of transparency to Congress if he did not reveal the new information from the Weiner case. And he believed that the bureau would be accused of suppressing details to benefit Mrs. Clinton — an accusation that he believed could do lasting damage to the F.B.I.’s credibility.

10 Questions (and Answers) About New Email Trove, Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo, New York Times, yesterday

As it stands, we now have real-time, raw-take transparency taken to its illogical limit, a kind of reality TV of federal criminal investigation. Perhaps worst of all, it is happening on the eve of a presidential election. It is antithetical to the interests of justice, putting a thumb on the scale of this election and damaging our democracy.

James Comey is Damaging Our Democracy, Jamie Gorelick and Larry Thompson, Washington Post, yesterday

You know what is the scariest and most absurd part of Comey’s offered reasons? That he was afraid he would be accused of a cover-up.

Please understand, he’s saying one of two things: Either he himself thinks that not releasing raw information learned through a search warrant, the significance of which his agency does not yet know because it needs a new search warrant to learn more, amounts to a cover-up. Or he himself knows it does not, but is so cowed by the prospect that some political forces will erroneously call it that, that he releases raw information learned through a search warrant.

That alone should cause Obama to fire him. Does Comey also think it’s a cover-up to withhold from the public information learned through grand jury testimony? Does he think that OTHER law enforcement agencies should announce to the public raw information learned through a search warrant?

And does this definition of cover-up apply only just before an election, to information about a candidate? He did say, after all–stunningly; this IS the FBI director, remember–that his very purpose was to “inform” the public about new, utterly raw information about a candidate (for president, no less) obtained through law enforcement policy powers.

Where exactly does he think this use of police investigatory power ends?

I think Obama needs to make clear that it ends well before where Comey has now said it ends. And he needs to do that NOW, not after the election.

Something about informing the public before the election.  As Comey himself would say.

In this instance, though, it would be about informing both the public and law enforcement and prosecutors’ offices around the country that, the FBI director’s statement and actions notwithstanding, the law does forbid the use of raw investigatory information obtained through search warrants, grand jury testimony and other means, with the exception of information contained in police reports and in indictments and other court papers available to the public.

Comey has seven years remaining on his 10-year term, but the president can fire him for cause.  Anyone who thinks that statement of his does not constitute cause does not understand the significance of what Comey actually said.

Obama rarely explains things; that’s been a huge problem throughout his presidency and is a large part of the reason for the Democrats’ massive midterm electoral losses, in 2010 and 2014.  But this should not be hard to explain, because it’s just not very complicated.  He can quote this:

Actually, the idea that materials gathered in a governmental investigation resolved without prosecution should, in the name of transparency, be made known in summary form when relevant for the guidance of voters is quite frightening.

– Comey’s mistaken quest for transparency, Donald B. Ayer, Washington Post, yesterday

Donald B. Ayer, the post states under his byline, served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, principal deputy solicitor general and deputy attorney general under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Comey does not understand the fundamental nature of police and prosecutorial investigatory powers, either in and of itself or in that public misunderstandings of it should itself alter fundamental nature of police and prosecutorial investigatory powers.  He has misinformed the public, police and prosecutors about this.  This misinformation should not be allowed to stand.

It doesn’t matter whether the misinformation is because Comey is dismayingly weak or instead just stupidyingly stupid.  We need him gone, and his instruction on police and prosecutorial informational obligations corrected.   This is profoundly serious stuff.

Really.

____

* UPDATED: Reader J.Goowin posted this in the Comments thread:

J.Goodwin

October 31, 2016 10:48 am

President Obama probably should not fire the director of the FBI for cause just before the election in reaction to the director’s apparent political efforts. Even asking for his resignation before the election is probably a bad political move.

He’ll certainly be packing up his desk the day after the election though.

Upon reconsideration, I agree that given how very close we are to the election, Obama should just wait until afterward to fire Comey.  But for the reasons I discussed in this post, Obama should fire him shortly after the election, and explain exactly why.

This post’s title originally was: WHY OBAMA SHOULD FIRE COMEY, NOW.  It no longer says “Now.”

Updated 10/31 at 12:15 p.m.

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