Donald Trump

After Comey Firing, Congress Gives Up on Checks and Balances

It's time to bring back meaningful Congressional oversight of the executive branch.

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ERIK S. LESSER/EPA/Newscom

The Constitution calls for three separate and coequal branches of government, each operating independently of each other, and each with their own powers—and limitations. But in recent years, under both Republicans and Democrats, the federal government has acted more like an entity made of just two branches, or possibly two and a half. Congress has abdicated much of its responsibility for legislating, descending into petty dysfunction when power is divided and acting more like a subservient arm of the executive when one party controls both the White House and the Capitol.

One result is that the executive branch has grown stronger, ruling by regulations and executive orders rather than laws debated and passed by those elected to do so. Another is that the system of checks and balances designed to provide oversight and accountability to all three branches has effectively lost one of its checks, leaving the entire system in a precarious state of imbalance. That imbalance is on display today in the wake of President Trump's highly suspicious firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Under Trump, Republicans have resisted providing meaningful oversight of the executive branch. Consider Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican head of the House Oversight Committee.

A month before last year's presidential election, when most observers expected Hillary Clinton to win the presidency, he announced that he had two years of investigations already in the pipeline.

Yet once Trump was elected, Chaffetz's desire to investigate the White House mysteriously vanished. At the end of January, Chaffetz released a 43-point list of issues he planned to investigate, not one of which related to Trump. The following month, Chaffetz said that his committee would not investigate Trump adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned as Trump's national security adviser amid questions about contacts with Russian officials. In April, he rather unexpectedly announced that he would not run for reelection in 2018, and would be taking immediate medical leave.

Chaffetz, a rising star in the Republican party who looked forward to years of oversight of a Hillary Clinton administration, had lost his appetite for the job. He did, however, seem to regain that appetite briefly last week when he announced that he would investigate presidential pension payments—made to President Barack Obama.

So it is hardly surprising that following the firing of FBI Director James Comey, which Trump justified with reasoning that is contradictory and difficult to believe, Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate, responded by dismissing calls for a special prosecutor to investigate the president. A few Republicans, including Rep. Justin Amash and Sen. John McCain, have expressed support for an outside investigation, but Republicans have largely backed the president on the firing. And McConnell rejected the idea of additional congressional oversight. "Today we'll no doubt hear calls for a new investigation," he said in a speech this morning, "which can only serve to impede the current work being done."

McConnell's statement is not only cynical. It is detrimental to his own institution, the Senate, and to the American system of government. It does not portend a constitutional crisis, yet. But it does suggest a willingness to continue to slouch into constitutional weakness and dysfunction.

McConnell is effectively arguing that an independent investigation should not be pursued because it would bog down the legislative agenda of President Trump and the Republican party. It is an argument that Congress should not play its constitutional role, but should instead function as a partisan lackey operation for the executive branch. That is a worrying view under any president. Under a self-dealing president with sketchy affiliations such as Trump, it is even more dangerous.

NEXT: Frustration with Political Correctness Was a Huge Predictor of Whether You Voted for Trump

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  1. Very reasonable argument. I still put my only hope in the Freedom Caucus (Justin Amash, mostly) and Rand Paul.

    1. LOL, they are Republicans.

      There will be a concerted effort by the Republican Congress to basically kill all investigations of Drumpf, with the same fervor as was put in the EIGHT Benghazi investigations.

      Face it, the is not Congress Gives up Checks and Balances, rather Republicans do not want Checks and Balances since there is a Republican in the WH

      1. See the flip side of that record Democrats do not want Checks and Balances since there is a Democrat in the WH in four to eight years. (Or just reference the previous 8)

        1. How about…

          Checks and Balances do not actually exist except as an expression of political infighting.

          1. The members of Congress are not naive; nor are they hypocrites, and whatever they do is for the greater good of the nation. Clearly they must recognize that firing Comey is actually an astute, albeit unpresidented, political move that furthers one of the key goals of the current administration??to distract the public from developments in America’s leading criminal “satire” case. See the documentation at:

            http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

            1. You are fucking crazy, aren’t you?

              1. No more so than any other spambot flogging his site. He should have been banned about 5 years ago.

                1. Tut-tut, such language. Did I touch a nerve? Surely you are not seeking to defend the “First Amendment dissent” of a single, isolated judge? Clearly the administration understands the danger posed by such an “dissent,” and is doing what it can to prevent it from infecting public discourse.

              2. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

                This is what I do.,.,.,.,.. http://www.webcash10.com

            2. I love people so consistenly wrong as you are. Give us some stock picks please… short or long, I will bet against you without doing any research.

        2. False equivalence, the hallmark of a genius mind to many a middling one.

      2. I imagine Amash cares very little about the well being of Trump’s political career.

      3. John Oliverisms are A) even funnier coming out of someone else, and B) a good way to let h&r regulars know which comments are ignorable without the faintest possibility of missing something interesting or amusing (I fell on this grenade).

      4. “Drumpf.” You’re so clever and funny! You probably still say “Not!” too.

  2. sketchy affiliations

    I’m still waiting on any shred of evidence as to what these are. I mean, just repeating something in the media over and over again doesn’t make it true. This stuff has reached Birther movement levels of ridiculousness, only this time with the weight of the entire MSM behind it.

    1. Setting aside anything relating to Trump personally and Russia, there’s been rumors of mob ties long before he ever ran for president, and Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager, would count as a “sketchy affiliation” in my book.

      1. rumors of mob ties

        Oh, that. Considering that the mob basically ran the pre-Giuliani construction industry, I don’t even know if that counts as worth looking into at this point. I have a feeling that’s not what they’re investigating anyway.

        1. Manafort, the mob, Mr. Tu Quoque…everybody does it.

      2. Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager, would count as a “sketchy affiliation” in my book.

        Small problem.

        Trump’s policies are in direct opposition to what Russia wants.

        He isn’t curtailing fracking, for example. That is a biggie and he’s all behind it. And, for Manafort’s issues, Podesta had dramatically deeper ties.

        We’ve seen LITERALLY nothing indicating any involvement between Trump and the Russians.

        1. Paul Manafort is a gigantic sleazeball, and he was Trump’s campaign manager. Plus, we know Flynn was having discussions with Russians, as well as appearing on Russia Today. Plus, there is whatever those maniacs Roger Stone and Carter Page were into. I don’t think anything useful will come out of an investigation, but everything related to Manafort, and every other sleazy Trump-related person should be investigated.

          1. Ron Paul appears frequently on RT (Russia Today), doesn’t he? It was RT that carried the third-party debate (Gary Johnson vs. Jill Stein). I don’t think appearing on RT is something to get upset over.

            1. Russia Today is purely a propaganda organ of the Russian government. It is known. That said, both the Russian government and American libertarians share an interest in decreasing the power and/or generally pointing out the silliness of the American government, so RT does float a lot of perspectives that establishment US media types ignore.

            2. Flynn was paid to attend a dinner with Putin. He also had a contract to appear on RT. Again, I don’t think an investigation of him will amount to anything completely sinister, but it should be investigated, especially since he may have violated the law.

              Ron Paul isn’t the national security advisor to a bozo who seems influenced by the last person who spoke to him.

              1. Flynn was paid to attend a dinner with Putin. He also had a contract to appear on RT.

                People frequently appear on TV programs for free. Happens all of the time.

                Again, I don’t think an investigation of him will amount to anything completely sinister, but it should be investigated, especially since he may have violated the law.

                Theoretically, you MIGHT eventually discuss what the law in question is.

                1. Theoretically, you MIGHT eventually discuss what the law in question is.

                  I MIGHT have linked a story which included the pertinent information.

                  1. You MIGHT have, but you MIGHT have also posted a trap link to another Lena Dunham toilet selfie.

                    Once burned, twice shy.

                  2. Re-read your link.

                    It does not.

                    1. Thursday the Defense Department confirmed it is probing whether the retired lieutenant general violated the law, DOD regulations or the Emoluments Clause.

                      I thought that was good enough. This doesn’t cite the specific laws he probably violated, either.

                    2. So, no laws can ACTUALLY be named. Got it. As I wrote.

          2. Paul Manafort is a gigantic sleazeball, and he was Trump’s campaign manager.

            He was also dismissed from the position.

            Podesta is a gigantic sleazeball and he had to give Hillary’s concession speech for because she was too blitzed to do so herself.

            Plus, we know Flynn was having discussions with Russians, as well as appearing on Russia Today

            Discussions where nothing inappropriate was said. As far as appearing on a TV station, glad to know appearances indicate support.

            …and you’re bitching about a guy who was manager for, what, 3 months?

            Plus, there is whatever those maniacs Roger Stone and Carter Page were into.

            Their positions in the campaign were…what?

            Podesta’s firm lobbied for a major Russian bank and he owned 75,000 shares of Gazprom. Does ANYTHING you’ve laid about remotely approach that level of financial ties?

            I don’t think anything useful will come out of an investigation, but everything related to Manafort, and every other sleazy Trump-related person should be investigated.

            I’ll bite. Why?

            You’re not actually listing a single thing illegal or even improper anybody you’re obsessed with has done. You can bitch about BENGHAZI and the like, but people at least could explain why it was bad.

            You’ve failed here. Impressively, I might add.

            1. Why do you keep bringing up John Podesta? Who the fuck cares?

              1. Why are people bringing up a campaign manager fired after 4 months on the job?

          3. Plus, we know Flynn was having discussions with Russians,

            Do we? I ask seriously. The only allegation I ever saw was that he had a phone conversation with the Kislyak guy, dude asked him about sanctions, Flynn told him he would have to wait for the inauguration to talk about that, and then Flynn never relayed that it came up at all.

            Is there evidence of other conversations? Because, while lying to your boss will usually get you fired no matter who you are, there is absolutely nothing in the call Flynn lied about that supports allegations of wrong-doing, outside of Flynn not being 100% on what was discussed in that one call.

            1. He did fly to Russia to sit down to a dinner next to Putin. He also may have lied about whatever he was doing for Turkey.

              Again, this doesn’t mean Trump is a Putin stooge or anything, but Flynn is a black hole of stupidity.

              1. Boy, it’s shitty that Flynn still has a job in the government isn’t it?

                Oh…wait.

        2. I don’t give a shit about Podesta, I’m not a Hillary fan and she lost.

          I don’t think the problem is necessarily small considering he was his campaign manager for over a year.

          If by “involvement” you mean direct evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians, then yeah at this point that’s true. But there are multiple key people around him (Flynn, Manafort, Stone, Sessions) who have come under investigation for contact with Russia so I think reaching the opposite conclusion that there’s clearly nothing to see here is premature. I’m not saying I think the most likely outcome here is Trump personally colluded with Putin the way Democrats are 100% sure happened, but I think there’s definitely enough reason for further investigation of ties between Russia and Trump’s advisers.

          1. I don’t think the problem is necessarily small considering he was his campaign manager for over a year.

            April 2016 – August 2016 is a bit less than a year.

            If by “involvement” you mean direct evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians, then yeah at this point that’s true.

            Six months and tons of people in position to say it is true who WANT it to be true and zero of them say it is true.

            But there are multiple key people around him (Flynn, Manafort, Stone, Sessions) who have come under investigation for contact with Russia so I think reaching the opposite conclusion that there’s clearly nothing to see here is premature

            It’s been six months. How long should we wait?

            Should we continue to assume that Reagan worked with Khomeini to not release the US hostages before the 1980 election, while we’re at it?

            The Left has a certain fascination with absurd conspiracy theories about Republicans being “bought” by foreign powers without explaining who was involved, why, who paid them, etc. Just random assertions that people are just supposed to assume are true because lots and lots of people are reading from the same script.

            I’m not saying I think the most likely outcome here is Trump personally colluded with Putin the way Democrats are 100% sure happened, but I think there’s definitely enough reason for further investigation of ties between Russia and Trump’s advisers.

            When will enough time pass for you to say it’s not true?

          2. So you don’t think anything nefarious is necessarily going on, but you just have oh so many concerns?

      3. I would be surprised if most of our presidents since FDR didn’t have mob ties.

    2. If Birtherism is good enough for the current President, then it’s the gold standard.

      Seriously, Team Red and Team Blue alternate between how much they care about oversight, transparency and the appearance/truth of impropriety based solely on whether their guy/gal/xe is in power. Trump could immediately stop this noise by telling Congress “Look, I’ve done nothing, but as long as this is out there, we’re going to be burning clock cycles on it. Appoint someone outside of Justice, the reports only to you, and investigate away.” Congress, if they were doing their jobs, and/or still had human souls, could do the same. The Dems could have done that for Hillary, or tossed her out as tainted because of her pathological hamfistedness around self inflicted scandals. But they’re not/weren’t going to, because it might slightly diminish their power. And since the trained seals that vote for them bark when they’re told to bark and are silent on command, they know that there’s zero consequences to not giving a fuck about how it looks to a non-seal.

    3. the weight of the entire MSM

      Persecution complexes are so entertaining.

      1. I’m sorry, have they not been beating the Russia war drum since last August?

        1. That’s different. For reasons.

          I’m guessing Trump might need to nuke Russia to make the media and Dems happy.

          1. Well they did seem to enjoy those missiles into Syria. If that helped, it seems obvious that a bigger missile might help even more…

            1. I nominate Quebec.
              The rest of us are tired of those fuckers, anyway.

    4. Oh, yeah, it is the MSM that is making Drumpf fire Comey when there is nothing there, and making Nunes run to the WH to inform the target of the investigation something related to the investigation.

      You clingers need to decide whether Drumpf neutered the MSM or they are all powerful. These alternating moods of persecution and triumph ring hollow.

      1. I’m a “clinger” now? I’m so excited! Call me a “far-right wingnut” and make my day.

        1. It’s so clear!

      2. Well, the entire “MSM” (Enemy of the People!) is “failing” according to General Cheeto, so blaming everyone who isn’t Fox News is rather like blaming witches for the clocks slowing down. Not that God-fearing Republicans are primitive peoples who demand scapegoats for their sacrifices.

    5. I’m still waiting on any shred of evidence as to what these are.

      This is what blows my mind. Trump signs EOs and *within hours* they’re contested in a handful of courts. I can’t *imagine* that someone like Manafort or Flynn or whomever is undeniably guilty as well as so politically connected *even after being dismissed* as to be immune to prosecution.

      Not to say that they’re clean or above aboard by any means, but it’s the same prosecutorial/procedural idiocy as is being criticized with the GOP.

    6. The “birther” stuff had far more factual support than any of this “Russian connection”.

  3. The Senate can assert its check on the Executive during Comey’s replacement hearings. I’m sure it will be a robust, good faith debate for all involved.

    1. I’m sure it will be a robust, good faith debate for all involved.

      Robust? Is that a fat-shaming joke at Christie’s expense?

  4. King Obama have way to Emperor Trump. This is the way of things. Soon he shall dissolve the imperial Senate and rule over us from his Death Star.

    1. “I am the Senate!”

  5. The real bums are the constituents.

    1. It’s bums all the way down.

  6. the firing of FBI Director James Comey, which Trump justified with reasoning that is contradictory and difficult to believe,

    so?

    http://www.newsweek.com/can-pr…..mey-594716

    The president can also fire the FBI director, even without a stated reason for doing so. “There are no statutory conditions on the president’s authority to remove the FBI director,” the Congressional Research Service wrote in a 2014 report. The director is “an at-will employee,” says Scott Bomboy of the National Constitution Center, meaning “he or she will serve at the will of the president.” Bomboy points to the Constitution’s “Advice and Consent” clause, which grants the president power to hire people to work for the executive branch, with congressional approval. “Once that person’s approved, it’s really up to the president as the head of the executive branch to determine their employment status,” he says.

    the opinions of pundits and/or congressmen on whether stated reasons are plausible or not is irrelevant.

    1. the opinions of pundits…

      …and chat room ballerinas.

    2. You know they impeached a President over the very question of whether or not he could dismiss an appointee without the advice and consent of the Senate. Came within a single vote of convicting him, too.

      1. … The House’s primary charge against Johnson was with violation of the Tenure of Office Act, passed by Congress the previous year….Contrary to popular belief, Johnson was not impeached for temporarily replacing Stanton with General Ulysses Grant earlier while Congress was not in session.[2]

        ….Congress repealed the act in its entirety in 1887.[1]

        Did you have some other pertinent example in mind?

        1. Eww, minor Glib infestation.

          1. I knew that DanO found facts disgusting, but it’s nice to see that you stopped wearing the mask. You do you.

      2. Wholly irrelevant. Impeachment is a purely political act.

    3. “the opinions of pundits and/or congressmen on whether stated reasons are plausible or not is irrelevant.”

      Seriously Gilmore? So because Trump had legal authority to fire him, no one way can comment on the firing or the plausibility of his stated reasons? That is weak bullshit. Virtually no one’s even arguing that the president doesn’t have the power to fire the FBI director, that’s not what the controversy is about.

      1. So because Trump had legal authority to fire him, no one way can comment on the firing or the plausibility of his stated reasons? That is weak bullshit

        It might be if that’s what i’d said. what i said was that those commentaries are irrelevant.

        I’m pretty sure i was clear on that point.

        Virtually no one’s even arguing that the president doesn’t have the power to fire the FBI director, that’s not what the controversy is about

        peter specifically says =

        ‘”That imbalance is on display today in the wake of President Trump’s highly suspicious firing of FBI Director James Comey””

        …as though congress has some oversight role when a president chooses to fire someone. They don’t. Until he nominates a replacement, their opinion doesn’t matter.

        Peter even suggests that “investigations” would somehow be appropriate, even though he doesn’t actually specify what impropriety actually merited investigating.

        All of this was pretty clear from what i originally said, and everything you are reacting to is either your own misunderstanding or a straw-man. The fact you claim that there’s any “controversy” at all is simply begging the question. Controversy over *what*?? Trump exercised his authority to fire a guy that pretty much everyone on earth has expected would be fired since the election happened. If there’s anything controversial its entirely in your mind.

        1. what i said was that those commentaries are irrelevant.

          Irrelevant to what, other than legality?

          everything you are reacting to is either your own misunderstanding or a straw-man

          As with your reading of Peter’s “highly suspicious firing” and call for investigations.

          1. Irrelevant to what, other than legality?

            As explained to you re: your assertion of the importance of Jeff Flake’s comments… Congress has no oversight role at all re: the dismissal of Comey. Peter (and Eric’s) posts have repeatedly insinuated that somehow there is some crucial congressional role here.

            If they want to express their fee-fees about it, fine, but they don’t necessarily need or deserve a ‘better explanation’.

            As with your reading of Peter’s “highly suspicious firing” and call for investigations.

            Explain to me how i’ve misconstrued his position.

            He seems to think there is some obvious misconduct which needs investigating. But every question about the firing has clarified that it is entirely legal and within the authority of the president. what, precisely, is begging investigation? There is no clear justification other than simple political desire to go fishing for dirt because “Trump sucks” or something. Pretending there’s some high-minded constitutional issue at play is bullshit.

            1. what, precisely, is begging investigation?

              ROOSKIES! HAXXZORZ! All reality-based people understand this.

      2. Virtually no one’s even arguing that the president doesn’t have the power to fire the FBI director, that’s not what the controversy is about.

        Reason itself was shitting its pants and calling up their team of legal experts earlier today over whether the firing was constitutional. So, that’s a lie.

    1. doh! wrong thread. still, a good read.

      1. Wow. Katie Lee hasn’t aged a day in 48 years,

      2. Although a bit before my time, that was a very good read. Thanks for posting.

  7. Isn’t it curious that History’s Smartest Man can’t manage to avoid stepping in every pile of horseshit in the barn?

    1. It’s 10th level interdimensional chess-jenga. You wouldn’t understand.

      1. Is The Spice involved? It’s my understanding that The Spice affords mere geniuses supernatural powers.

        1. It is by Trump alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the steaks of Trump? that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, the stains become a warning. It is by Trump alone I set my mind in motion.” – Sean Spicer’s mantra

          1. Trump is the mind killer.

    2. Yes, but Obama’s yesterday’s news.

      1. Haw haw haw! Obama! Har har har!

  8. Political parties should be banned. Representatives should be representing their constituents, not selling out loyalty to a nationwide org. This is an excellent example of that. They aren’t doing their basic jobs, and it’s because of party politics.

    1. Yeah, fuck the First Amendment and the right to freedom of association. I’m sure you’ll be the appointee to determine if meeting or discussing politics has created a political party, right? And I’m sure Obama would have loved the power to disband political opposition.

      1. I’m not being serious, because of course that’s a first amendment problem. But it is also, IMO, also a serious problem that our reps are so easily manipulated by national organizations. I believe this contributes strongly to the problem of our parties sorting out into random grab bags of issues instead of having any kind of guiding ideology, leaving us with no options that have any principles. Yes, it’s freedom of association, but that associating leads to where it seems all roads go- people ganging up on each other for purposes of concentrating power.

    2. They won’t be banned. Hell the only way they will be diminished is by increasing the size of the House by 3-5x – or by eliminating elections altogether and just randomly selecting a couple thousand citizens to be legislators just like we do juries. And those two have no chance of happening.

      1. Actually, the founders wanted there to be more reps, by a factor of 10.
        http://www.boldtruth.com/

  9. This is hilarious! Checks & Balances, this country hasn’t had a proper constitutional abiding government in forever. Why is this surprising given the immense growth of government in the last 100 + years, nothing new here, it’s just a natural progression until it explodes or implodes at some point.

  10. I’m all for constitutional checks and balances.

    And if Congress wants to initiate a witch hunt, then that’s their prerogative.

    Doesn’t mean it isn’t a witch hunt.

    Incidentally, recent history suggests that initiating witch hunts doesn’t play well to voters.

    1. Older history, though, suggests that it plays just fine to voters in certain circumstances. RE: McCarthyism / Terrorism.

      1. Also see: The Inquisition.

  11. Listen, they’re bad and we’re good, so listen to us.

  12. Maybe a fourth on government should be added, like the state governors can step in to oversee the Feds.

    1. Nah, it’s pretty simple. At the end of their terms, every politician is killed violently and publicly. Seems like a good way to show em who’s boss.

  13. Trump is a con man. A grifter. Look at the lawsuits he keeps losing to people he stiffs. The last one was to a paint supplier for $32,000.

    He told the idiots in flyover country what they wanted to hear and now he is trying to fleece them.

    Way to go GOP. I thought no one could be worse than the Bushpigs.

    1. I wouldn’t worry too much, you can always count on death and taxes to be there for you!

      1. Shreek probably welshes on paying his taxes, too. The IRS would be after him if he had any income.

        1. He just seems so sad all the time. I thought it would be nice to cheer him up with some of the things that matter in his life!

          1. His doctor told him that if he keeps masturbating he’s going to wear his nub completely off, so the only thing that cheers him up anymore is videos of unwanted puppies being destroyed by the county.

            1. You TEAM RED! hacks post on Yahoo a lot too. What is wrong with Bratbitch.com?

              1. I’m not supporting Trump, shreek. I’m attacking you, because you are a lying liar who lies even when telling the truth would benefit you personally.

                1. I just want him to be happy.

                2. Eat shit. I have no motive to lie – and I don’t lie.

                  1. That’s a lie right there, liar. Pay your fucking bet.

                    1. Pay your fucking bet.

                      That never gets old! Pure, unalloyed genius!

                    2. You left your other sock on. Try drinking less. Or more.

                  2. Not paying your debt on a lost bet is absolutely a form of lying, you lying piece of shit.

                    When you made your bet, you gave your word that you would satisfy the terms if you lost. You lied, because you are a lying cunt.

                    1. Fuck you, you commie piece of shit.

                      I paid the $20 I lost.

                    2. Demanding that a person keeps his word is communism, apparently. What a world!

                    3. I paid the $20 I lost

                      Which has never been confirmed by anyone other than yourself, you worthless sack of crap.

                  3. I should lie though. Lie down and take a nap. Your posts are too cranky.

    2. Hey, he’s kept Obama’s warmongering in place and supports single payer. He’s a NY Dem, and is really just a more boorish version of your hero, Warren Buffet. I thought you’d be in love with the guy.

      1. Let me know about that war Obama started that cost $2 trillion and killed 4500 US troops, you TEAM RED! canker sore.

        1. what year did he not bomb 6 countries?

          1. $2 trillion pissed away. 4500 US troops killed. Fuck you, you Bushpig.

            1. where did you get that I supported any war from 2000-2008?

              1. You conveniently only remember Obama’s drones.

                1. See, Bush started a bunch of wars. Obama only kept them going despite promising not to, and added killer robots into the mix. Obama is a libertarian hero.

                2. You know what I remember?
                  “I will end the iraq war on my FIRST DAY OF OFFICE.”

        2. troop surge.

        3. Well, his actions in Libya caused a global “refugee crisis”.

    1. Not when Trump does it after saying this:

      “I have to give the FBI credit. That was so bad, what happened originally. And it took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made, in light of the kind of opposition he had, where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution?.”

      1. You sure are invested in the career of a bureaucrat who’s done nothing but fuck up for the last six months.

  14. “Under Trump, Republicans have resisted providing meaningful oversight of the executive branch. Consider Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican head of the House Oversight Committee.

    A month before last year’s presidential election, when most observers expected Hillary Clinton to win the presidency, he announced that he had two years of investigations already in the pipeline.

    Yet once Trump was elected, Chaffetz’s desire to investigate the White House mysteriously vanished.”

    So, Chaffetz had a pile of investigations of the incoming president based on someone else becoming president, but that person did not become president so he’s not going forward with investigating? Weird.

    1. In other news, I was going to place a large bet on the Indiana Pacers in the NBA finals, but the Pacers will not be in the NBA finals so I will not be placing that bet.

    2. Do you really think Chaffetz’s pile of investigations planned for one candidate and lack of desire for oversight of the other had nothing to do with partisanship?

      1. But what’s the real reason that B.P. isn’t placing any bets on the Pacers who are not playing in the finals? I bet it’s that he secretly favors another team, it has nothing to do with the fact that the Pacers didn’t make it to the finals.

      2. Perhaps one candidate hadn’t been abusing their authority as part of Government, because they weren’t a part of Government.

        I mean, are you seriously this stupid?

  15. Without one single shred of evidence, the Democrats have claimed that Trump is beholden to Putin when so far almost everything he has actually done is in direct opposition to that narrative.

    Now, they want an Independent Investigation into alledged ties with Russia because of undefined and ambiguous ‘concerns’. Again, without evidence.

    At the same time, if there was evidence, it would have directly come from leaks that were a direct consequence of the Obama administrations loosening of requirements on when U.S. citizens names must be redacted in conversations they record of American citizens phone conversations.

    So, in other words, the real story for the press is that there may or may not be a document somewhere that can link Trump to Russia but they have no idea how, when, where, why, or any other concrete ‘concern’ but they don’t give two flying fucks about the fact that the thing that launched this whole witch hunt was the governments blanket spying on pretty much every last person in the United States.

    If you think this is the last time the government uses it’s authority to spy on citizens to attempt to curb stomp a sitting President, you would be massively mistaken. Nixon was playing in the kiddie pool compared to the wealth of information you can get on your political enemies today.

    1. And just to reiterate it, we are watching the death of the Republic. Right now, today.

      1. Dude, that show is in like its 80th season.

        1. Yeah, but it jumped the shark in Season 8 or so…

      2. Yup, this system doesn’t even resemble a republic anymore

      3. It was fine a year ago!

        1. It’s pinin’ for the fjords!


          1. “I always liked doing the fiddly bits around the edges…”

    2. Without one single shred of evidence

      You should grab a roll of toilet paper to wipe that bullshit off your lips. Trump’s national security adviser was !busted! trying to work a way to drop those sanctions while Trump was sucking up to Putin during the campaign. Trump’s campaign manager was on the Russian payroll and Trump’s businesses are financed by Russian money.

      1. Russia probe: Senate requests Trump documents from agency that monitors money laundering

        http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/10…..gency.html

        1. Mighty helpful of you to fetch that link for that completely different poster who totally isn’t you.

      2. feels like you’re missing a bunch of all caps or bold

      3. The only problem with taking the Con Man out is that Pence is a Fundie-Freak.

        1. You know, i almost missed your full-scale, unmedicated, neologism-laden ravings over the last eight years, Blue Mikey. You’re like the comment section version of a papier-mache George W. Bush head that’s been rotting in some protester’s parents’ garage since January 2009, if that papier-mache head could tell lies all the time.

      4. And the shred of evidence you might be referring to is…

        Oh, right, nothing except things that are not only public knowledge but have no bearing on if Trump in any way, shape, or form colluded with a foreign government to in some way alter the election results. In fact, you probably couldn’t lucidly say what ‘collusion’ they’re talking about in any meaningful way.

        It’s all ambiguous allegations without any real solid wrongdoing being stated. That’s because if they were specific you’d realize they’re blowing hot air. Name a single billionaire that doesn’t have international ties to all sorts of people you might not like. Having financial ties does not collusion make.

        Was Obama also ‘colluding’ when he talked to foreign leaders behind closed doors before he was elected? What do you think they were talking about? Policy and initiatives he might undertake, perhaps? Should we have investigated him?

        Should they appoint a special prosecutor? Sure, why not. I’d love to see one hired to take on Hillary Clinton as well, considering she certainly was beating the Russia war drum first and the loudest. What inside information, perhaps from a FISA court, was she provided with to make her zero in on that since ‘normalizing’ relations with Russia was one of her ‘signature’ accomplishments as SoS? Special Prosecutors for everyone!

        1. While they are at it, they can investigate the Uranium One deal.

          1. Indeed. If Russia is so sinister why did we give them so much Uranium? Or was it only after that deal that Hillary Clinton realized that maybe she had made an uh-oh?

            I find the whole Russia issue to be a continuation of the political firebombs she hurled during the election, but it’s interesting to note that they do indeed continue and are ramping up. Did she have inside information about Trump and Russia? How? When? Who gave it to her? Or was Hillary just being crazy, and got lucky that Trump was a Russian spy (or something)?

            Weird!

      5. Trump’s national security adviser was !busted! trying to work a way to drop those sanctions

        Do you have ANY evidence for this?

        Hint: He was busted for not revealing that he had told the Russian Ambassador that he couldn’t discuss sanctions. You are flatly lying.

  16. I wonder, was there this much rage and shouts of dictatorship when Bill Clinton fired Bill Sessions, then FBI director, immediately before a high ranking suicide in the White House and during the course of highly contentious hearings?

    1. Clinton was not being investigated.

      1. You’re right, however his entire administration was, how else do you kill investigation? Fire the FBI director. The kicker is it was the day following the Deputy White House Council’s suicide at the White House, but nothing to see here folks.

        1. *makes a Gary Johnson face*

          Who is Ken Starr?

  17. Can someone ‘splain to me exactly what these “Russian ties” are supposed to be?

    Set aside partisan hackery. I really am curious. Everything I’ve seen in headlines is about hacking elections, which is patently obvious nonsense. Russians don’t need Trump’s cooperation to hack voting machines or create fake news.

    Nothing is as bad as Hillary’s foundation taking transparent bribes from Saudis or lying about Benghazi or lying about her email server.

    Nothing is as bad as Nixon ordering a burglary.

    What exactly is Trump alleged to have done with the Russians other than business deals?

    What is so bad about Trump’s business deals?

    I haven’t heard anything which seems remotely like a smoking gun, let alone a chewed-up PopTart.

    1. Bratbitch.com wants you back.

    2. There’s actually been nothing provided as of yet. There’s been more debate about this (essentially nothing) than there was about TARP or the AHA. This is nothing more than smokescreen and mirrors, there has to be more than this to get Trump on, he’s not this clever.

    3. Trump’s business deals with Russia are bad because he 1) didn’t sell them Uranium while Sec of State and 2) didn’t run the proceeds of his business dealings through a foundation or through Ivanka’s “speaking fees”.

      If he’d just followed the rules, there would be nothing to see here.

      1. Hillary sucks but she didn’t sell any uranium to Russia you fucking GOP hack.

        1. She approved the deal, or was she not the Secretary of State at the time?

          1. She didn’t approve a deal to sell uranium to Russia! She approved a deal to sell uranium to Ukraine, which was headed by a Russian puppet government at the time. It’s completely different, somehow.

            1. So she laundered the Uranium.

          2. Yes, the State Dept approved the deal.

            But only a GOP hack would lie and say “Hillary sold uranium to Russia for her personal gain”

            1. *looks at quote*
              That’s not what he said.

              1. In fairness though, that was the implication.

                I would have drawn the same conclusion if I didn’t actually know what happened, like PB.

                It’s not fair to assume that PB has any idea of what actually goes on in this world.

        2. True, in as far as that goes. However, even the NY Times described it thusly: “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal”

          and

          “Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown. But the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.”

          1. And also

            “Uranium investors’ efforts to buy mining assets in Kazakhstan and the United States led to a takeover bid by a Russian state-owned energy company. The investors gave millions to the Clinton Foundation over the same period, while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s office was involved with approving the Russian bid.

            SEPTEMBER 2005 Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining financier, wins a major uranium deal in Kazakhstan for his company, UrAsia, days after visiting the country with former President Bill Clinton.

            2006 Mr. Giustra donates $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation.

            JUNE 2008 Negotations begin for an investment in Uranium One by the Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom.

            2008-2010 Uranium One and former UrAsia investors make $8.65 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One investors stand to profit on a Rosatom deal.

            2010-2011 Investors give millions more in donations to the Clinton Foundation.

            JUNE 2010 Rosatom seeks majority ownership of Uranium One, pending approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, of which the State Department is a member.

            JUNE 29, 2010 Bill Clinton is paid $500,000 for a speech in Moscow by a Russian investment bank with ties to the Kremlin that assigned a buy rating to Uranium One stock.

            OCTOBER 2010 Rosatom’s majority ownership approved by Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

  18. There’s enough salty Republican ham tears in this thread to make a gallon of pea soup.

    1. who’s a republican here?

    2. One does not need to be a Republican to oppose government wiretapping and eavesdropping on American citizens using secret warrants, but if you think it helps why aren’t you a Republican? Should I take this to mean that you support unfettered wiretapping of American citizens, and see no issue in potential politically motivated leaking of information obtained in this way relating to American political figures?

      I’m sure that won’t come back around to bite a Democrats ass. Not ever.

    3. “Pea soup” was DanOhOh’s nickname in community college.

      1. that’s how they said it, anyway.

    4. Tears? You Dems are the ones bawling.

    5. Clearly, you make shitty soup.

  19. Congress has no “oversight authority” over the executive branch. They are co-equal branches of government, a fact which Suderman noted in the first sentence but seems to have forgotten by the third paragraph. I won’t dispute that Congress has been abrogating its constitutional duties in permitting the Executive branch to arrogate far too much power to itself, but the Comey firing has nothing to do with that.

    A president is entitled to have his preferred people in the top positions of his administration. This applies to cabinet officers, heads of major executive branch agencies (not the so-called “independent” agencies), US attorneys, and even the head of the FBI. Firing the head of the FBI is unusual but not unprecedented; Bill Clinton did it, and it seemed to cause no one heartburn.

    If you actually read the memo from the Deputy Attorney General (to whom the Director of the FBI reports), the reasons for the firing are entirely valid. Comey politicized his office, assumed roles and authority far beyond the proper scope of his duties, breached long-standing operational rules of his agency, and even lied to Congress. His firing was entirely justified.

    1. Congress has oversight authority over executive offices they create by law. They certainly have no oversight authority over the president (or vice president, or arguably the original cabinet secretaries).

  20. The firing was long overdue. An investigation into the Russian connection with Comey in charge would have zero credibility. He had to go. Let’s not use Chaffetz as any sort of standard for Congress. Most of Congress are decent people trying to do the right thing. The good ones have tried to step up and I believe they are gaining ground on the jackasses.

  21. Firing an executive branch employee is within the purview of the President.

    Checks and balances come when a replacement is appointed and the Senate has to confirm.

    1. High school civics are hard!

  22. Eight years too late.

  23. Silly me, here I thought the Executive and the Legislative were co-equal branches of government…

  24. At the end of January, Chaffetz released a 43-point list of issues he planned to investigate, not one of which related to Trump.

    Maybe because Trump had held political office for barely a week at that point? LOL

    I remember when Reason didn’t believe in Congressional investigations of private citizens. Nostalgia sucks.

  25. The constitution was created by the states in order to form a federal government with minimal power over the individual states.
    So, there is not just separation of powers within the federal government, there is supposed to be separation of powers between federal and state governments. Our two party system has blown holes right through those checks and balances. If nothing else, no party should be able to exist at both the federal, and the state and local level.

    1. But how would you make them unable to exist? They formed so soon, it seems inevitable.

  26. I don’t understand how firing a middling FBI director who didn’t really do his job counts as executive abuse. How he handled the firing does call into question his temperament and level headedness.

    Dropping missiles on Syria without congressional approval – that’s executive abuse. But the dems sort of gave him a pass on that and even agreed with it. It got close to zero scrutiny in the media. But they’re declaring “constitutional crisis” over THIS.

    I hope Reason writers aren’t learning bad habits from the left. Partisan gamesmanship isn’t a constitutional crisis. Our rights aren’t being violated (necessarily) because Obama and Trump fires or hires unqualified people.

  27. The average citizen can not be cynical enough about all of these people. They are to powerful too wealthy and too skilled at manipulation. Oversight and investigation powers are not only undermined by partisanship and abdication but by the complete impotence of of the system when compared with the immunity provided by power and the self protection instincts of the political class.

    What is needed are stiff penalties for public servants who abuse the power of their office in any way. The only way to achieve this is by holding as a first principle zero tolerance for corruption, supporting removal of shady characters even if they are YOUR shady character and not making excuses or trying to interpret everything through a red or blue lens. If it stinks, throw it out.

    We can not afford to grant these elite few the protection of due process, criminal charges will never come for the likes of the Clinton’s or Trump or anyone even modestly entrenched in DC politics under the current system. A special prosecutor does need to be appointed, cut him or her loose to dig up anything on anyone in DC. Lets have a witch hunt for the ages, lets make the McCarthy hearings look like morning tea and lets finally see some heads roll.

    1. But special prosecutors are loose cannons. They have authority w/o responsibility, & they tend toward partisanship to boot.

      1. I know, I was just annoyed. My pitchfork is safely back in the tool shed.

  28. The only question is, who will watch the watchers?

  29. Where was all this meaningful Congressional oversight the last eight years?

  30. The members of Congress are not naive; nor are they hypocrites, and whatever they do is for the greater good of the nation. Clearly they must recognize that firing Comey is actually an astute, albeit unpresidented, political move that furthers one of the key goals of the current administration??to distract the public from developments in America’s leading criminal “satire” case. See the documentation at:
    Sent from http://flashreviewz.com/

  31. Comey’s relevance was terminated when President Obama announced “There will be no charges filed”.
    “The rule of law, the separation of powers, and the strength and hallmarks of American democracy are at stake” Chuck must have missed Comey’s relevance being terminated when President Obama announced on national television, “There will be no charges filed” mid investigation of Crooked Hillary. Since President Obama’s pronunciamento the FBI Director has been an empty suit yearning to be free. Why else would he continue to make irrelevant and occasionally inaccurate public statements before congress? Maybe Chuck doesn’t understand the concept of the president’s cabinet serves “at the pleasure of the president. Comey had to go now. (Chuck in ’18)

    1. You sir sound far too reasonable, God help you if you ever said this to some lib reporter on TV. The eye-rolling would be spectacular.

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  33. Comey was a Director at a money laundry bank. How did he ever get to be the head of the FBI?

    Follow The Money

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  36. Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager, would count as a “sketchy affiliation” in my book.

    Small problem.

    Trump’s policies are in direct opposition to what Russia wants.

    He isn’t curtailing fracking, for example. That is a biggie and he’s all behind it. And, for Manafort’s issues, Podesta had dramatically deeper ties.

    We’ve seen LITERALLY nothing indicating any involvement between Trump and the Russians
    Sent from ProfitMozo Review

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