FBI

Comey's Dismissal Shows Trump Is Really Bad at Cover-Ups

The president's ham-handed efforts to stifle interest in Russia's election meddling have only drawn more attention to it.

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Trump campaign

Donald Trump's official reason for dismissing FBI Director James Comey is transparently phony, and there is strong circumstantial evidence that the real reason had something to do with the FBI's investigation of Russian attempts to influence the presidential election. That likelihood should trouble anyone who values the rule of law, since it looks like Trump is trying to impede an investigation that could prove embarrassing, politically damaging, or even legally perilous for him. But talk of a "constitutional crisis" is more than a little premature. So far Trump has acted within his legal authority, albeit with questionable motives, and he cannot unilaterally block inquiries into Russia's election meddling. To the contrary, he has only succeeded at stimulating interest in the issue.

Based on the accounts of unnamed administration insiders interviewed by The New York Times and The Washington Post, the decision to give Comey the boot grew out of Trump's growing anger at what he saw as the FBI director's failures and provocations. Trump has long complained, contrary to the Justice Department memo making the case for Comey's replacement, that Comey went too easy on Clinton, who in Trump's view should have faced criminal charges based on her careless handling of classified information. As recently as last week, Trump tweeted that "FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!"

The president reportedly was furious when Comey testified last week that he feels "mildly nauseous" about the possibility that his handling of the Clinton investigation contributed to her loss in the presidential election, a comment that Trump thought took some of the shine off his victory. Trump also was irked by Comey's refutation of his claim that Barack Obama had tapped his phones and by what Trump perceived as the FBI's insufficient enthusiasm for investigating leaks.

But the grievance that seems to have loomed largest in Trump's mind in the days preceding Comey's dismissal was the FBI's investigation of Russian attempts to influence the presidential election, which (as Comey confirmed in congressional testimony on March 20) includes any role that people in the Trump campaign may have played in those efforts. "The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax," Trump tweeted the day before firing Comey. "When will this taxpayer funded charade end?"

The Times reports, based on the accounts of "four congressional officials," that Comey recently asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the same official who days later would write the memo justifying Comey's dismissal, to approve more personnel for the FBI investigation. In his May 9 letter informing Comey that his services were no longer needed, Trump bizarrely thanked him for "informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation." If Trump's intent was to suggest that firing Comey had nothing to do with protecting himself from the FBI's investigation, the effect was just the opposite.

Trump's irritation at the FBI probe does not necessarily mean he or anyone in his campaign broke the law. But he avowedly sees the investigation as an unfair distraction from more important issues, including his own policy agenda. At least as important, the notion that Russian intelligence helped him win the election by hacking emails that made Clinton look bad or spreading disinformation about her, even without the collusion of anyone working for the Trump campaign, offends the president's outsized ego. These are reasons enough for Trump to wish that he could wave a magic wand and make the issue disappear. But he can't.

Firing Comey did not stop the FBI investigation. As Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, noted, Trump did not "fire the entire FBI." Collins, who is no fan of Trump, thinks "any suggestion that this is somehow going to stop the FBI's investigation of the attempts by the Russians to influence the elections last fall is really patently absurd." The Post, citing an "intelligence official who works on Russian espionage matters," says agents are "more determined than ever to pursue such cases."

Comey's dismissal left Andrew McCabe, whom Comey chose as his deputy, in charge of the FBI. Trump could try to replace Comey with a crony who will shut down the Russia investigation, but he will need the Senate's approval. If senators do their job, they will make sure that Comey's successor is fair-minded and independent.

In addition to the FBI, the Senate and House intelligence committees are investigating Russia's role in the election. As a matter of institutional pride, the perception that Trump wants to stop those inquiries should, if anything, encourage members of Congress to pick up their pace. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was "troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey's termination." The day after Comey was canned, Burr's committee issued a subpoena to former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, seeking documents relevant to Russia's interference in the election.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), an ex officio member of the intelligence committee by virtue of chairing the Senate Armed Services Committee, does not think Comey's dismissal will help Trump. "This scandal is going to go on," McCain said in a speech on Tuesday night. "I've seen it before. This is a centipede. I guarantee you there will be more shoes to drop. I can just guarantee it. There's just too much information that we don't have that will be coming out."

Maybe legislators' promises to get to the bottom of Russian meddling in the election will prove empty. Maybe they will rubber-stamp whomever Trump chooses to replace Comey and abdicate their oversight responsibilities, letting the FBI investigation quietly die without an explanation. Maybe voters won't care. But for the time being, Trump's ham-handed efforts to stifle interest in this sensitive subject has only drawn more attention to questions he wants everyone to stop asking.

According to the Nexis news database, the were 420 stories mentioning Trump, Russia, the FBI, and the election in the week before he fired Comey, when he was irate about such coverage. That's a daily average of 60. The average for Tuesday and Wednesday was more than 300.

NEXT: An Economist Goes to Shanghai

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  1. Or maybe there’s some bigger scandal brewing that he’s trying to distract us from! Huh? Huh?

    Or maybe he’s just used to being able to fire anyone for any reason and doesn’t care about political consequences of such actions in DC.

    1. The media is flipping out and trying to distract from the new FBI Director, that Trump will nominate, re-opening the investigation of Hillary and recommending indictment for violating federal law and of course, the Attorney General will seek an indictment. Hillary will get her fair trial.

      The left will start really crying rioting then.

      1. Dear God you FOX News junkies are pathetic.

        And when your sadistic fever dream doesn’t come to pass, it won’t matter, because your propaganda-addled brains will have moved on to the next bullshit.

        You’re as bad as North Koreans, you know that? Of course you don’t.

        1. Propaganda? I don’t pay attention to NBC, CNN, CBS, WaPo, NYT, FOX so how can their propaganda addle my brain?

          Hi Tony, you lefty apologist.

          You’re as bad as North Koreans, you know that? Of course you don’t.

          1. In Tony’s addled brain, anyone who’s not wearing a Che tee shirt is a Republican-voting, white, Fox News addict. It is known.

            Hey Tony, nice one, comparing a guy with “loveconstitution1789” for a handle to the Norks. Project much, you statist tool?

            1. Wow, you two are embarrassingly cringe worthy.

              1. 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. Tony wouldn’t know what to do because I wear a Mario Teran t-shirt (Bolivian officer who shot Che), member of the Cherokee Nation and Reason addict.

              1. “I don’t pay attention to NBC, CNN, CBS, WaPo, NYT, FOX…”

                So, you’re an ABC fan?

                1. So, you’re an ABC fan?

                  Anyone
                  But
                  Clinton?

                  Why, yes, thank you.

                  1. Really? I dislike team red and team blue, but the current guy is objectively an idiot who genuinely can’t grasp any policy with sufficient depth. A good libertarian should be speaking truth to power, whoever wields it. I think you’re just too used to bashing democrats and find it difficult to change…

          2. Where do you get your info from, not trying to be snarky, I’m just curious?

            1. I go to Reason, Drudge report, breitbart, Google news and other news compilation websites.

              Then any story that looks worthwhile, I go to the local story. Foreign news services have stories with foreign spins that are Europe-centric so they are easier to pick out the BS.

              In other words, I don’t turn on FOX or NBC and have them tell me what the news is.

      2. Pretty much what I was thinking. Comey was a villain to the leftists – the man who cost Hitlery the election – until Trump fired him. Then he became the decent and honorable man who was investigating Trump.

        I hope Trump IS investigated – thoroughly – by an independent party.
        I hope the same level of scrutiny is applied to Hitlery’s classified email imbroglio.

        At the end of the day it seems likely that Trump might have another member or two on his team who probably had some sort of wholly inconsequential contact with Russians…
        And Clinton will be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of criminal activity for which she should receive a sentence of no less than 500 years.

        1. You hate her, don’t you? Hate her! Feel the power of the dark side!

    2. An anonymous source told me that all of this lack of evidence and constant reliance on anonymous sources further erodes the trust of the media.

      1. Clearly your sources are not Sullum’s sources.

        His, of course, all being Top.Men.

    3. TEACH THE CONTROVERSY!

    4. What they mean is the complete lack of evidence points to a coverup.

  2. Donald Trump’s official reason for dismissing FBI Director James Comey is transparently phony, and there is strong circumstantial evidence that the real reason had something to do with the FBI’s investigation of Russian attempts to influence the presidential election.

    I know you might have heard this a thousands times but this narrative is outright stupid and played out. But hey, if this how you want to be remembered, be my guest.

    The media clearly wants to make a narrative out of nothing and derail any more draining of the swamp. The fact that unfounded “circumstantial” accusations equating this to Nixon are so telling of what agendas are.

    The great thing is after Trump replaces Comey and fires McCabe, the FBI will reinvestigate ‘ol Hillary and recommend indictment.

    Jacob, you know Trump will fire McCabe too? Will that be circumstantial evidence of something too? McCabe is an Obama crony and Trump is cleaning house to get rid of corrupt bureaucrats like Flynn, Comey, Preet Bharara, and Sally Yates.

    1. Why do you think Sullum is so upset? He’s an Obama momma.

      1. Jesus fuck, you’re retarded.

        1. Thanks for ceaselessly pointing that out every time he posts anything.

          1. You’re welcome.

    2. We all knew that electing Trump would result in all manner of revealing and unmasking, as the permanent ruling fusion party simply will not tolerate anyone horning in on their sandbox.

      The only part that surprises me is that the Sullums of the world actually think they are accomplishing anything by all this.

      1. Why don’t you rightwing dregs go the fuck away and let us libertarians talk?

        1. What?

          You and Joe from Lowell have something to discuss on the NAP?

        2. Who would that be? You and DanO?

        3. Did you cheer or boo before Colbert told you what you what your reaction to the Comey firing needed to be?

          1. Don’t let all of his past statements fool you. Whatever he might have said, Tony is totally not down with the heavy hand of statism.

          2. Speaking of deflecting criticism from the cockholster Colbert joke SJW onslaught. its like the left to never let a Comey firing spin go to waste.

        4. Tony a Libertarian?

          I needed a good laugh today.

          What Libertarian points would you like to make today Tony? How the Nanny “mixed” government works better than free market?

        5. Gee, Tony: tell us how bad partisanship is.

        6. Tony, tell us how the media should question government and challenge politicians.

    3. “draining of the swamp” to replace it with an even murkier cabal, you mean

  3. I’m guessing that Rosenstein is smart enough to realize that he was used. Maybe this will spur him toward appointing a special prosecutor, which is something that should have been done long ago.

    1. A deputy attorney general can appoint a special prosecutor?

      Tell me more of your secret knowledge.

      1. Sessions is recused from the Russia investigation. That makes him boss hog for that particular case.

        1. “That makes him boss hog for that particular case.”

          Yet still leaving him as nothing more than a Deputy Attorney General. A position lacking the authority to appoint a special prosecutor.

  4. Trump, like Richard III, is haunted by the stench of illegitimacy, as evidenced at the very beginning of his presidency by his obsession with (and lies about) his inauguration crowds and his “historic” (it wasn’t) electoral victory, and continuing throughout the Russia scandal. The malignant narcissist simply cannot let go. He must bend reality to fit his own warped worldview, or he will be destroyed. Trump hasn’t murdered any princes (that we know of) but let’s hope his own Battle of Bosworth Field comes sooner rather than later.

    1. Drain the swamp! Drain the swamp!

      I know it sucks that the left cannot control a politician who is dismantling the Nanny-State teat. Even funnier is that Trump does not care what the left says and just keeps on draining the swamp. Trump knows who got him elected and it is not the media and lefties. Trump is doing exactly what the people who voted for him want.

        1. Putin’

          Comey’s ass out on the street.

          1. Shit.

            That didn’t work. Damn HTML.

            Puttin’ Comey’s ass out on the street.

        2. Tony how is the FSB paying these days?

      1. Are you serious? Have you even checked his appointees?

    2. Trump, like Richard III, is haunted by the stench of illegitimacy,

      Guess that “vapid comment” accusation really stung ya, huh, Dannyboy?

    3. So you guys are reading Shakespeare at school?

    4. I’m unaware of someone with no political or military experience being elected as president on the first try. If he is a first, then that indeed is historic.
      The only thing scandalous about the Russian scandal is how with media and government these days turn nothing into something and make something disappear into nothingness.

      1. News Flash: This wasn’t Trump’s first try at President.

      2. Another reason the establishment cannot have just anyone as President. Americans would get all uppity and just run for office on platforms to dismantle the corrupt and bloated federal government that took decades to create.

    5. Your autocorrect is broken. I believe you typed “0bama” or “Clinton,” but your phone said, “Trump.”

  5. Is being bad at cover-ups really that terrible of a quality to have in a goddamn president?

    1. Another great point. The more these people with TDS talk the more you get a sense of how they want government to be run.

      Big, expensive, non-transparent, good at cover-ups, immune from violating federal law for mishandling classified information, media and government working together, able to easily wiretap political opponents campaigns, etc.

      1. Honestly, i don’t think that the Obama administration was that great at covering up their shit either – however, unlike Trump, they had a certain amount of media complicity to help. Obama’s garbage was all over the alleyway thanks to both whistleblowers and general incompetence, but too many of the supposed watchdogs just gushed about biodegradability and how cute all those little kitty cats were.

        1. I agree with you about the Obama administration not being good at cover-ups and as you say the media was complicit in keeping the bad stuff from being reported.

          The only outlets for reporting most of Obama’s corruption was Breitbart and other non-mainstream news. The left then just attacked those non-traditional news outlets as fake news even when the administration’s actions were factually reported.

          With Trump, the media tries to make any of their crappy accusations stick. Kind of a cry wolf situation, so if there is an actual nefarious Trump action nobody will believe the media.

      2. Strawman much?

    2. I still don’t understand what’s being covered up. It would just appear that the president and the administration are incompetent and he, specifically, is erratic and thin-skinned. We already knew that. I’m still waiting for someone, anyone, to actually go on the record (rather than non-stop anonymous leaks) with an accusation.

      1. They are scared to accuse Trump of an actual crime because Trump would use defamation laws against them.

        Hulk Hogan’s defamation lawsuit win against Gawker really scared the media to no accuse someone without sufficient evidence. They throw out questions of impropriety but never would accuse Trump of anything illegal without proof.

  6. Should have seen this coming when Matt Welch declared Ben Sasse and Evan McMullin as “libertarian-leaning” allies in the #NeverTrump resistance.

    1. If you’re gonna fuck a chicken, wear a rubber, kids. Galliform syphilis is a hell of a way to lose your mind.

      1. Firstly, I was not aware that there was a form of syphilis specific to chickens, which has peaked my curiosity. Secondly, Evan McMullin is a ridiculous man. That cannot be disputed.

    2. What about Donald fucking Trump says “libertarian” to you morons?

      1. The “NOT HILLARY” part.

        Yes, there, I said it, DanO.

      2. Someone sounds but hurt.

      3. Absolutely nothing at all, but does that mean that we should just mindlessly agree with non-specific allegations without any supporting proof regarding a sitting President? Especially when those allegations are surfacing from Intelligence Agency leaks of classified conversations that were recording by those same Intelligence Agencies using secret warrants? You can be against a President and still think the methods used to attack them should be illegal.

        Or is it a good thing that the Deep State has dirt on every politician that they can selectively release to destroy anyone who might slow their roll? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for transparency, but this isn’t transparent. It’s an abuse of power by entrenched Intelligence officials.

        If there was any meat on this story, the Intelligence agencies wouldn’t need to use leaks to the media they could just report to Congress and impeach Trump. Why isn’t that what happened? What is there to ‘investigate’, exactly, and what sources would seem appropriate?

        1. does that mean that we should just mindlessly agree with non-specific allegations without any supporting proof regarding a sitting President?

          Yeah. That’s what it means. You’re fucking retards who sucked in every nugget of of Benghazi and Fast and Furious and OMG he said 57 states hysteria you could get your toothless mouths around. You are supposed to be those people.

          Among the few of you who have a brain cell or two that approach average human functionality, you should at least be skeptical of the tinpot asshat in chief rather than deferential. Being government skeptics and all.

      4. What about anything you ever posted that says “libertarian”, moron?

        Oh, except for the parts where you claim to be a libertarian.

  7. So far Trump has acted within his legal authority, albeit with questionable motives, and he cannot unilaterally block inquiries into Russia’s election meddling. To the contrary, he has only succeeded at stimulating interest in the issue.

    Yes, it seems that interest was stimulated among Reason’s staff who have decided that this bullshit story has some merit after all. Hilary lost the election fair and square.

    1. This reminds of Obama’s birth certificate, except that it went mainstream.

  8. Did anyone expect Comey to last six months into the new administration, regardless of whether it was Trump or Hillary?

    The guy handled himself very poorly and nobody had any faith in him. The clock was ticking on his dismissal from November. His testimony on Huma Abedin this week — which the FBI had to immediately correct — was embarrassing and the last straw and everyone knew it. This is such a nothing story it’s literally insane.

    And if there is an investigation into Trump — and there is no evidence such an investigation even exists — it would continue regardless of who the director is. The Korean War didn’t end because MacArthur got fired either.

    This is the media establishment and members of the permanent government using whatever they can to delegitimize the president, same as they’ve been doing from day one.

    1. Yup. I was surprised that Trump didn’t fire Comey on Jan 20, 2017 on the walk back from his inauguration.

  9. Donald Trump’s official reason for dismissing FBI Director James Comey is transparently phony, and there is strong circumstantial evidence that the real reason had something to do with the FBI’s investigation of Russian attempts to influence the presidential election. That likelihood should trouble anyone who values the rule of law, since it looks like Trump is trying to impede an investigation that could prove embarrassing, politically damaging, or even legally perilous for him.

    Firing Comey did not stop the FBI investigation. As Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, noted, Trump did not “fire the entire FBI.” Collins, who is no fan of Trump, thinks “any suggestion that this is somehow going to stop the FBI’s investigation of the attempts by the Russians to influence the elections last fall is really patently absurd.” The Post, citing an “intelligence official who works on Russian espionage matters,” says agents are “more determined than ever to pursue such cases.”

    Just how do you Progtard media crapslingers resolve having BOTH of those paragraphs in the same article?

    Objectivity cover or just simple Proggie cognitive dissonance?

    1. Just how do you Progtard media crapslingers resolve having BOTH of those paragraphs in the same article?

      Easy. Trump is so stoopid that he thinks stopping Comey ends the investigation.

        1. He’s right that that is the logic behind the contradictory notions.

    2. Its the same smoke and mirrors that allow lefties to blame Comey for Hillary losing and that he is a horrible FBI Director and should be dismissed, then do a 180 and defend Comey when he is fired.

      1. He caused Hillary to lose, was a bad FBI director, and also was fired for investigating Trump on Russia (otherwise known as blatant obstruction of justice). None of this is contradictory.

        1. actually if there was anything to find about Trumpo and Russia it would, should have been found by now that is if any of the so called anonymous sources had ever been telling the truth in the first place. If anything Comey should have been fired for not resolving the issue already in a timely fassion instead of dragging it out in order deligitimize Trump and put himself at center stage

        2. Tony, I though Comey told Trump that he was not being investigated.

          How can Trump fire Comey for investigating Trump when both Trump and Comey knew that Trump was not being investigated?

          1. Your problem is that you believe what Trump tells you.

            1. Your problem is that you believe what the lefties tell you.

              I question all including what Trumps yells about.

              1. You realize this is a libertarian website right?

                Your insane pro Trump rantings are hilarious.

                It probably never even entered your pea sized brain that libertarians don’t like Trump.

                1. You know what’s insane? Saying someone has been posting pro-Trump rantings when there’s absolutely no evidence that they’d actually done so. That’s insane.

                2. Ah, you must be a lefty. Dismiss good actions by Trump because you wanted Hillary to win.

                  Me Libertarian- think Trump not doing too bad and certainly way better than Hillary. Me put holes in your little absolute statement that Libertarians don’t like Trump.

                  Funny thing is that I probably would never comment on Reason if it weren’t for nonsense coming from lefties pretending to be Libertarians and trolling a Libertarian website.

                  1. You’re crazy if you expect anybody to believe you’re libertarian.

                    Who said anything about Hillary? You’re fucking unhinged.

                    Projection is strong with you. “No, you’re the puppet! You’re the puppet!”

                  2. “wanted Hillary to win”

                    Jesus fucking christ, just finish your Hilary Clinton wank and talk about the issue in hand, will you? Every fucking post of yours on this article mentions her.

                    A good opposition should fight and question the power. Clinton lost so no one gives a shit about her anymore, except for people like you and your raging hard-ons. What’s the point in kicking an easy, irrelevant target half a year after the election?

                    Guess I must be a lefty then, right?

                    Fucking moron.

        3. He caused Hillary to loose? You’re in as much denial as Her Feloniousness Herself.

          I wasn’t aware Comey wrote that quip where she referred to a big chunk of America as “deplorables”. Didn’t know he traded her cattle futures. Fired the White House travel office staff to bring in cronies. Harassed Bill Clinton’s victims. Hired a former bouncer to run White House security in order to steal vetting files. Rented out the Lincoln bedroom. Rummaged the office of her dead friend while the body was still warm. Didn’t know it was Comey who started gun running out of Benghazi. Covered it up afterwards. Lied about her being under sniper fire in Bosnia. Repeatedly covered up her health problems, to the point of dragging her broken-down ass into an apartment instead of taking her to the hospital after collapsing following a speech. Allowed donations to her “charitable” foundation to take the appearance of a “pay to play” scheme.

          1. (cont’d.)
            It was Comey who set up an email server in Hillary’s basement in a transparent attempt to avoid turning emails over in response to FOI requests. Caused her to initially lie about said practice being wrong. Caused her later to claim memory loss over the incident due to a head injury. Comey planted classified emails on her server. (How was she to know her unprotected server would be host to US secrets?) Covered up the messages on that server by ordering them erased. When ordered to produce said messages, I guess it was Comey who, in an act of pique, printed out the batch (but *only* these Comey’s minions decided were acceptable for the plebes to see) instead of providing electronic copies.

            Comey told her to ignore her husband’s advice and instead skip campaigning in the states that cost her the election. Comey told her to screech “why am I not up by 50 points”. It was Comey who deleted all of those commercials and speeches outlining her grand vision for America, leaving just those “Trump sucks” ads behind for Americans to judge her by.

            That Comey’s worse than Snidely Whiplash.

            1. Forgot, it must have been Comey who forced her to repeatedly lie about using only one phone. And Comey held her hostage in the early days of her campaign so she couldn’t get her message out to the public for months on end. (I’m sure it wasn’t that she was desperate to avoid answering hard questions.)

              It was Comey who conspired with the DNC chair to rig the primary. Comey made her hire that chair after she resigned in disgrace. Comey conspired to get her town hall and debate questions in advance. I’m sure she wanted nothing to do with that.

              1. Facts you mention are like sunlight to the lefty vampires. They suck and suck without any regard for how their sucking will impact their host running out of money.

              2. Sheesh. I forget all about Comey front-running that Whitewater deal. And those Rose Law Firm records Comey stupidly dumped in a White House bedroom the day after the statute of limitations ran out on a bunch of civil lawsuits related to said records.

                The man is worse than Hitler!

            2. Give it up, notJoe, that is all “FakeNewz to the Tonistas.

              1. Yeah, I know. Tony never responds when called on his bullcrap. Too busy sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling nyah nyah!

                On the other hand, it was fun putting the list together. All that baggage was just off the top of my (inebriated) head. I’m sure if I spent any time on it I could double the list. That woman is a walking nightmare, and Tony still insists Comey cost her the election.

        4. Hillary caused Hillary to lose, by acting like Hillary.

  10. LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!!

    1. LEAVE HILLARY ALONE!!

      Hey DonA., do you have you Hillary apologist statements prepared when Trump’s new FBI Director re-opens the Hillary investigation and recommends indictment?

      1. STOP RESPONDING TO THE FREAK

  11. What Russian meddling?

    You can’t cover things up if they don’t exist.

    ……but……

    you can use hysteria against the hysterics……..

  12. It was a dismissal for cause, not a cover up. When has Trump ever covered up anything. He is blatant and arrogant, and shows his faults freely not caring about the consequences. The Comey firing is no different.

  13. The president’s ham-handed efforts to stifle interest in Russia’s election meddling have only drawn more attention to it.

    This may be by design. I think that most people rightfully think that there is nothing there. He’s just doing what he has been, which is to say/do things that throw the DNC and media establishment into a tizzy overplay their hand so that he seems rational by comparison. And with the firing of Comey, he can just say he was giving the Dems what they have been calling for for months.

  14. So Reason is going to follow cues from the Washington Post rather than CATO, it appears.

    1. Fuck CATO, go MISES! Yeah, Reson’s attempts to “go mainstream” over the last year is getting mildly nauseating.

    2. Sadly, thus is so.

      Perhaps the staff caught a brain parasite from Weigel.

    3. CATO also believes that ‘right wing extremists’ cause more terrorism than Islamic extremists, even though the data itself says otherwise, so you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t mindlessly trust what CATO has to say on pretty much any subject these days.

  15. “There’s just too much information that WE DON”T HAVE that will be coming out…”
    McStain, if you don’t have information then how do you know it’s there? And a lot of it? Getting a new pee pee dossier typed up to hand out all over the Hill? It is your patriotic weasel duty after all…

    As for Jake and Reason, yet another disappointment.

  16. Comey needed to go. I am disappointed that anyone would care what the Russians tried to do to influence the election especially since the US has a long history of doing the same election> at the end of the day all they most likely did was to release stolen emails that showed how arrogant , petty, corrupt and bigoted Clinton’s staff was. As if we didn’t know this already. Anyone who thinks this is anything more than a diversion and a way for the left to deflect self reflection is a fool or a leftist hack. . I guess the author (who has been praised by Mother Jones ) is both. It is a shame that Reason has fallen so fart as to hire this leftist POS.

    1. So you don’t care that Russia influenced American democracy, or you don’t care because it helped Republicans?

      1. Either you and your lackeys have evidence that a foreign power somehow tampered with voting machines and/or changed vote totals in some way (which would be an actual violation), or you don’t. This “muh-Russia” bs is only going to cost Team Blue seats, no matter what the Trump admin does.

      2. When are you going public with this startling information?

      3. Just exactly what did the Russians do?

        They hacked the DNC servers ‘cos the Donks were criminally inept at security.

        They tried to hack the RNC, but somebody there actually understood the definition of Cybersecurity.

        They leaked stuff to Wikileaks.

        Did they do anything else?

        What the fuck does any of the above have to do with Trump?

      4. So you don’t care that Russia influenced American democracy

        If Americans are so easily influenced by Russian meddling, then perhaps going to a straight democracy is something to be avoided at all costs.

      5. The Russian had no more influence in the election than all the foreign leaders and actors who made public announcements that we must not elect Trump. Outside influence is apparently legal when its for your team. In reality since Hillary has been in Putins pocket for years I’m more apt to think the leak was staged by the DNC in an attempt to get the sympathy vote for Hillary and hide their well documented connections

      6. I BLAME BERNIE SANDERS AND JILL STEIN!

      7. You’ll never understand how lame the “[so-and-so] influenced democracy” accusation sounds.

        People thinking and voting: that’s ostensibly the point.

        1. Unlike all the Alex Jones lizard-people insanity you believe in without question, the Russian influence thing is actually a thing being investigated by federal agencies.

      8. So you don’t care that Russia influenced American democracy, or you don’t care because it helped Republicans?

        All countries “influence” each other’s elections. Heck, Germany donated millions to the Clintons and spends massively on lobbying in the US.

        Russia did nothing more than what any US newspaper might do: talk, write opinion pieces, write biased news pieces, and release secret documents that exposed malfeasance by candidates. I don’t have a problem with anybody doing that, even institutions I don’t like, like the Russian government, Mother Jones, or the New Republic.

    2. Sullum is not a hack, nor is he Leftist. He’s just following the narrative here, as disappointing as that is. The man worked for National Review and I don’t think anyone would argue that they hire Leftist hacks.

      1. Correct. This whole thing strikes me as the Washington DC hive vs. the don’t-give-a-shits in the rest of the nation. Reason, despite all of its good writings about the wretchedness of federal bureaucracy and such, seems to be siding with the hive on this one.

        1. This is what ‘cocktail parties’ actually means: social pressure. These people are writers for a living. This is their job. Fellow writers at other publications are pushing this narrative and isolating people who are not cooperating. The whole Russia conspiracy has been flimsy from the get-go and has been covered in the most ridiculous way (I’ve never seen so many spurious accusations collapse and then be ignored all upon anonymous sources, who are most likely being kept anonymous, because if we knew who they were the political motive would be obvious), but it continues, because certain publications have a vested interest (mainly their reputations) in something being found.

          1. Yes, to a great extent the reaction from many is more sympathetic than intentional.

            But when your headline screams out ‘cover up’ you really should have something both tangible and credible to base it upon.

            Otherwise, maybe you should ask yourself just what the fuck it is you think you are doing.

          2. This is what ‘cocktail parties’ actually means: social pressure

            I didn’t think you knew how the cocktail parties meme started. I wasn’t sure before, but I am now.

          3. I laughed when you said that certain publications have reputations. They think they have good reputations while much of the rest of the USA thinks they have no good reputations.

            Among other hacks, they certainly have reputations to be like-minded hacks.

            I am still amazed at how they fool themselves into believing that they are unbiased and do not have agendas that their writings must reinforce.

      2. Sullum might want to have a conversation with his old editor over at NR, maybe it will provided some much needed perspective on the issue. It’s not like Reason is a ‘major’ publication or has any credibility in particular to lose out on by publishing things contrary to the fallacious narrative.

        Breathless coverage of this ‘scandal’ is making anyone who covers it look like a hack. Maybe they’ll all end up being vindicated when some ‘smoking gun’ does appear, but how many months and/or years is ‘long enough’ before they start asking questions about the motives behind the investigation?

  17. Even Rand Paul went on tv yesterday and preshamed all who would try playing this same angle.

    As he said…paraphrasing “show me the evidence of collusion or influence. I have yet to see any actual evidence that either took place, and I’ve actually been asking for it”

    So I ask the same question. Where is the evidence of nefarious things? The only evidence that exists tied to trump shows there was some communications between advisers and the russian ambassador during the transition period at the beginning of the year. WikiLeaks has vehemently claimed their documents from the dnc and podesta have nothing to do with Russia, their documents on the RNC show no Russia collusion or influence.

    This has to be the 3rd or 4th article on reason basically saying “we think trumps creepy, we can’t verify any of it, and well hedge all our statements about said creepiness, but we think you should think he’s creepy too, just because we think he’s creepy…”

  18. There’s no smoking gun, but all this talk of Trump-Russia collusion does not make the administration look good.

    (Am I doing it right?)

    1. At least with the whole Birther bullshit regarding Obama had a fairly easy out; provide his birth certificate which he actually did. That managed to shut up everyone except the true nutcases.

      How does one prove there wasn’t collusion though? It’s an impossible to prove notion, which means it isn’t going anywhere. Either there’s proof of collusion, or there is always ‘suspected collusion’. The perfect distraction, no matter how many missiles Trump fires at Russian allies.

  19. I think it’s a great thing that the Media and the Democrats are spending literally all of their credibility and political capital in persuing something that will go nowhere. Look, you can hate Trump for any number of reasons but this whole Russia hacking/collusion narrative is ludicrous.

    Appoint a special investigation, or whatever. It doesn’t even matter. Anything they dig up won’t result in an impeachment. It’s all a ruse to bog down the administration in unfounded allegations. If an investigator is appointed it will be used as proof that there’s fire under all the smoke though, just wait and watch. When that investigator finds nothing, it will also be used as proof that the investigator was somehow ‘colluding’ with Trump. This isn’t a narrative that will go away, you can’t prove there wasn’t collusion after all.

    Trump has been ‘under investigation’ pretty much since he was elected but thus far absolutely zero proof of anything has surfaced. Period.

    Do Democrats want to have a conversation about the FISA courts and Intelligence Services leaking supposedly classified information obtained through secret warrants that’s the basis for the whole witch hunt now? Or do they want to wait until Trump uses those same methods to torpedo their next candidate for the White House? Honest question.

    1. Two years from now, Trump/Russia collusion will be a foundational building block in the “Trump Admin Mired in Endless Controversies” narrative, even if not one speck of evidence is uncovered.

      1. That is the end game here.

        Trump has actually crossed some campaign promises off this list and that is super dangerous to establishment types.

        First they dismissed that Trump could win. Then they dismissed that Trump could actually get Gorsuch appointed, would scale back Obama EOs, work to drain the swamp. Now they try to bog Congress down with Russian nonsense to prevent them from cutting government more.

    2. This is clearly more worrisome than the IRS targeting the political opposition for extra scrutiny or accidentally releasing confidential donor records, or the NSA engaging in unmasking and tasking for purely political purposes, or the president illegally subsidizing health insurance companies. Nothing to see there. No concerns about actual abuse of government power.

      1. Yes, I love how unproven allegations of misconduct with Russia results in breathless coverage without one shred of evidence yet actual misconduct of the Intelligence Agencies themselves is basically brushed aside. Even if their actions are technically legal, and it’s questionable if it actually was, it amounts to the Intelligence Services having access to phone conversations of officials that they can release to the media if those Intelligence Agencies decide that politician might be a problem. This is literally the ground work for a police state, if we aren’t already in one.

        Gotta’ love it, and it’s truly sad that Mark Levin and his surrogates are pretty much the only people talking about this. There is evidence that this is what happened, yet no ‘Special Independent Investigation’ has really been launched. Interesting.

        Maybe it’s because these politicians know that if they start to investigate, some of their conversations might find their way to a media outlet?

        1. And for the record, all the people claiming this is ‘like Nixon’ are ignoring that it’s far more like Herbert Hoover.

          1. J. Edgar.

            1. Thanks for the correction, that was an idiot mistake on my part!

        2. Maybe it’s because these politicians know that if they start to investigate, some of their conversations might find their way to a media outlet?

          Why do you think the Donks refused to let the FBI gather forensic hacking evidence from the DNC server?

          And why didn’t Comey force the issue?

          1. It’s hard to get forensic evidence off a server that’s been triple wiped, probably with a magnet, I suspect.

            They just took the Clinton’s word that they turned over all their documents. To my knowledge the actual server itself was never even looked at. If it was, it’s curious that emails the investigators never actually saw turned up on Weiner’s laptop.

            1. They did finally get the server, and the emails that weiner had were duplicates.

            2. What you say above is true.

              But what I was actually referring to was the Donk refusal to allow the FBI to investigate the hacking of the DNC servers during the election. The one where Podesta’s password was “password.”

              Wonder what they had to hide there?

              Unmasking emails from Jarrett?

              1. Sorry, I’m apparently on a tear today since pretty much every major story out there at the moment amounts to a deflection from real conversations about real problems. I think it’s legitimately driving me a little nuts today.

                As far as the DNC hack goes, the story never really became how the DNC itself was working overtime to torpedo Bernie which was one of the more interesting parts about it for me. (And I suspect this is what most people mean when they say ‘influenced the election’ in that it exposed Democrats to how their party really works.)

                I’m honestly not even sure why the DNC has a primary at all, but it’s hard to deny that a lot of useful idiots found out how their party really works behind the scene’s as a result of the DNC’s ludicrously poor cyber-security. I’ve never understood how that’s Donny’s fault though.

                1. Right now the only “allegation” of collusion is that trump’s team worked with the Russians to leak DNC emails. Even if that were true, I seem to recall a time at reason when any leak was considered an unvarnished good. Apparently now things are different(tm).

                  1. Indeed, and normally I would agree with you on the ‘any leak is good’ meme except that it now appears as if Intelligence Agencies themselves are using these ‘leaks’ as political assassination tools aimed at United States elected officials.

                    So, leaks can be ‘good’ when they uncover wrongdoing (RE: Edward Snowden releasing files relating to concrete malfeasance at the NSA) or they can be bad (RE: The NSA selectively releasing wiretapped conversations between a politician and another party, even when no specific law is being broken, as a method of backdoor character assassination.)

                    I’m sure you get the difference, I just want to point it out to some of our more brain damaged commenters.

                    1. Well you wouldn’t be agreeing with me because I don’t think all leaks are good. In fact I’m *gasp* not a snowden fan. Sure he did everyone a service by revealing illegal surveillance of US citizens, but he also did bad by revealing methods used on foreigners. Now I realize that reason doesn’t recognize borders and that is the ONLY defining trait of a true libertarian(tm) but us conservatarians don’t actually have a problem with spy agencies actually spying on non-americans (hint: it’s kinda in the job description).

                      My point is that a lot of this hyperventilating is yet another example of so called prinicipled libertarians finding “pragmatism.” Basically, eat your own fucking dog food.

  20. This piece rests upon two assumptions: (1) Trump has something to cover up; (2) Trump is stupid. If you question either of those assumptions the whole piece looks like a drift into a psychotic break. Funny thing about (1) is it is implicitly questioned by this piece itself… if there is a cover-up, then by definition there is not yet any evidence. Seems like this piece would be a whole lot more credible if it was written _after_ some evidence came out. Any discussion about a cover-up of crimes for which there is yet no evidence is simply conspiracy theorizing. That’s fine for the reddits and the dinner table (and for Trump’s twitter feed it seems), but for a supposedly somewhat journalistic entity like Reason it is, at best, damaging to their credibility. (2) could be true, but it’s funny how the ‘stupid’ crowd is saying simultaneously that he’s too stupid to do a good cover-up, but somehow smart enough to have engineered stealing the election with the aid of the Russians.

    If Reason would like to do a libertarian-ish piece for a change, how about a piece on how this whole election saga is proof to anyone willing to see it that the coercive state – particularly one that effectively tries to command-and-control the entire planet as does the USG – is both too corrupt and too inept to ever trust with anything.

    1. “If Reason would like to do a libertarian-ish piece for a change…”

      They tried that before. Apparently all it ever got them was a rather unsavory association with those icky Koch brothers.

      This is the new and improved Reason where libertarianism is now expressed as a wish for a kinder, gentler form of statism.

      1. Trump is the state you fucking retard.

    2. Good points, and frankly true. You must admit, though, that these stories are getting a lot of juicy clicks even if the reason for those clicks are to point out how retarded the story is and how it’s making people think that Reason is just another bullshit opinion outlet.

      Oh…wait…maybe it is just another bullshit opinion outlet.

      I’m honestly curious, did Reason publish a whole lot of stories about how Barak Obama wasn’t actually an American citizen thus he wasn’t eligible to be President of the United States? If so, did they continue pushing that line after Barak released his birth certificate?

      I get it. Trump sucks, and we don’t like him for a lot of very good reasons. Is that a reason to say he essentially worked with the FSB to win the election? Do you even realize how crazy that makes you sound Sullum? Do you even care?

      1. Ok, I’ll dial it back a little bit. Sullum is after all reporting on a story, but it’s a story that isn’t worth reporting on unless you’re Alex Jones.

      2. Plus, all the lefties that flock here to act like Libertarians. Those clicks and comments count too. The more articles, the more clicks and comments.

  21. Let’s just say that this article hasn’t aged well after McCabe’s testimony before Congress.


    1. But McCabe told senators that the investigation ? which he called “highly significant” — is continuing unimpeded.

      “The work continues despite any changes in circumstances,” McCabe said. “There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date. You cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.”

      Comey originally had been set to testify Thursday about worldwide threats, but McCabe appeared in his place, offering assurances to lawmakers that if there was any interference he would inform them. When asked by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., if he would promise to tell them of any moves to interfere in the probe, McCabe said: “I absolutely do.”

      McCabe also denied reports that Comey had requested more resources for the Russia probe in the days leading up to his termination, with McCabe saying he believes the probe to be “adequately resourced” and adding that normally the FBI will not request resources for a single investigation.

      By this afternoon we’ll all hear about how McCabe is a stooge and on the payroll. By the end of next week we’ll probably have some juicy tidbits about his personal life and why he should be fired.

      1. My local news channel reported that requested-more-resources thing as the truth.

    1. From the Russians?

  22. The Democrats are in full meltdown mode. Not even a few months ago they wanted Comey to be fired, now they are treating him like a martyr. The hypocrisy is unreal from these morons. Even some of the NeoCons are upset and crying on twitter.

  23. The proof of the Russian Hacking is in the same file as 0bama’s birth certificate. Sullum looks like a fucking retard.

  24. Is this really Reason? I swear Huffington Post hijacked the Reason website. Not a word about Comey giving Felonia a free pass on her home brewed, top-secret email server even though “None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government?or even with a commercial service like Gmail.”

    Clear violations of federal law. Lock her up.

  25. What I find most stunning is the fact that simpletons like Sullum think Trump believed it would all go away if he dismissed this one bungling bureaucrat, who isn’t even involved in the ongoing (and thus far fruitless) Russian tampering narrative.

  26. Three former FBI officials agree with Trumps’ decision.

    McCabe (the acting AG, and more likely a Clintonista than a Trumpist) told the senate that the investigation was proceeding, and that there had been no attempt by the WH to influence it in any way. He also promised to report back to the senate if that happened.

    Why as Comey fired?
    1. The FBI doesn’t do prosecution. It makes recommendations to appropriate authorities.
    2. The FBI never talks publicly about investigations while these are underway.
    3. Prosecutors never talk publicly about prosecutions underway.
    4. The FBI reports to DOJ. If the AG (Loretta Lynch) has recused herself, no problem, go to the acting AG.
    5. Comey assumed the mantle of prosecutor and prosecuted (in the case of Hillary the thing publicly.
    6. Comey then exonerated Hillary when there appears to have been an overwhelming amount of evidence indicating serious illegal activity. (He dug himself a hole he couldn’t get out of.)
    7. Trump is right in worrying about whether Comey may repeat that process on the WH investigation.

  27. And with respect to whatever Comey did, T-Rump just pissed off and alienated the bulk of the FBI. There is NO EXCUSE other than T-Rump wanted Comey to end this Russia investigation – scandal. You can bet your ass, these agents will double down and expose this for all to see. T-Rump cannot stick a knife into all of them. Or can he?

    What is the GOP leaders in the Congress doing? Sitting around on their ass doing nothing. That will cost them in the next election cycle if they don’t act NOW.

    1. And with respect to whatever Comey did, T-Rump just pissed off and alienated the bulk of the FBI. There is NO EXCUSE other than T-Rump wanted Comey to end this Russia investigation – scandal.

      No doubt: an obviously useless investigation that has gone nowhere.

      You can bet your ass, these agents will double down and expose this for all to see

      Expose WHAT? WHAT is Trump actually supposed to have done?

  28. Headline: Sullum’s Articles Show He Is Really Bad At Libertarianism

  29. Donald Trump’s official reason for dismissing FBI Director James Comey is transparently phony, and there is strong circumstantial evidence that the real reason had something to do with the FBI’s investigation of Russian attempts to influence the presidential election.

    Well, yes, it did: Comey’s investigation of Trump was likely to end up being the same kind of train wreck that his investigation of Clinton was. And that’s an entirely legitimate reason to fire him.

    1. Why wouldn’t Trump was a reputable FBI Director to have a competent investigation done and then clear Trump and whomever publicly. Means less if Comey says it since his reputation is shot.

  30. 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)

  31. yes, magical thinking..assumptions, conjecture, false rumors,.all make for a great article.

  32. “investigation of Russian attempts to influence the presidential election.”
    Yep, I was a die hard supporter of that guy the libertarians ran until the Russians came along.
    And after a few loserbook views and a couple web postings I became thoroughly convinced Clinton was the way to go.
    Er, Trump I mean.

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