The World Gets Curiouser and Curiouser: Trump and Comey, Rich and Wikileaks

The “destroy Trump” media’s latest revelations re Trump and Comey and the mostly-ignored Rich-Wikileaks’ nexus cast a harsh light on Comey and the FBI.

Trump and Comey Alice in Wonderland Curiouser and CuriouserRevelations of the last 24 hours are coming ‘fast and furious’ one might say.  Something is playing out between Trump, Comey and the NYT that could potentially involve illegal actions by President Trump or former FBI Director Comey.   They most certainly involve a complete failure in journalistic ethics by the NYT.

Also in the news today, there is reason to suspect that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich may have been the source of Wikileaks’ revelations during the 2016 Presidential election.  The circumstances of his death, in light of some of the oddities of the FBI investigation into “Russian meddling” are sufficient to give any fair person pause that Rich’s murder might not have been a “failed robbery.”

The curious case of Comey, Trump and the NYT

The NYT ran a blockbuster story today, “Comey Memo Says Trump Asked Him To End The Flynn Investigation.”  In it, the author claims that Comey recorded in a memo that Trump said:

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. . . . He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

The NYT claims that the President’s statement amounted to an order to shut down the investigation.  I think that arguable (Ann Althouse’s analysis concurs, and see Prof. Turley on Morning Joe), but regardless, the NYT was on a roll:

The documentation of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.

That is an incredibly serious allegation of the type for which the progs have been making daily virgin sacrifices since November.  It is also an allegation that the NYT has made without any verification, as the reporter who wrote the article admits that he has never seen the Comey memo, nor does it appear that he made any attempt to verify the document with Comey.  I don’t think I have ever heard of a paper running such a story.  Just for sheer violation of traditional standards of journalism, this makes Rolling Stone look like a paragon of virtue.  The NYT had better hope that this is an accurate report or this could be the beginning of their end.

According to the NYT, Comey regularly documented his conversations and meetings with Donald Trump, including a memo about a private meeting that occurred on Feb. 14, the day after Trump fired Michael Flynn from his government post.   The NYT claims that Comey “shared the existence of the memo with senior F.B.I. officials and close associates.”  That leads to the first question, with whom exactly did Comey share the alleged memos?

 Surprisingly, it appears that Comey did not share the memo or the allegation in the memo with his second in command at the FBI and its now acting head, Andrew McCabe.  McCabe appeared before Congress just last week and was subject by Senators to questions that would most certainly have elicited this information if McCabe knew it.

Equally surprisingly, no one in Congress has come forward to claim that Comey shared his memos or concerns with them.  Sen. Richard Burr, with whom Comey had a good working relationship, has stated categorically that at no time did Comey tell him about this alleged illegal act by President Trump, adding:

“I actually believe the director might have told us that there’d been a request like that and it was never mentioned by him,” . . . So somebody’s going to have to do more than have anonymous sources on this one for me to believe that there’s something there.”

What makes this truly bizarre, assuming all the allegations are true, if Comey believed that he witnessed an attempt by the President to obstruct justice but then sat on the information for his own job protection, then Comey has himself committed a criminal act:

. . .  Comey is required to immediately inform the Department of Justice of any attempt to obstruct justice by any person, even the President of the United States.  Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against Comey.  (18 USC 4 and 28 USC 1361)  He would also, upon sufficient proof, lose his license to practice law.

The next questions are why did the other people who were aware of this memo have copies of it?  Perhaps it would be believable for a third party, for some sensible but not obvious reason, to have a copy, but that raises a separate issue.  If they did have a copy of the memo, why could they not provide a copy to the NYT?  Rather, they could only quote very select parts?  That makes no sense.  This is starting to smell like three day old fish left out in the sun.

Now let’s diverge from the article for a moment.  Trump fired Comey on Tuesday, May 9.  Three days later, Trump, seemingly out of the blue, tweets:

James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!

That tweet, which seemed quite odd at the time, makes perfect sense today in light of the NYT article.  Now things are exponentially curiouser.  This has become a high stakes Game of Thrones.  Was Trump tipped off last week that Comey was going to claim something like this?  It certainly seems it.

Moreover, Comey is surely going to be subpoened to testify under oath.  I would be surprised if it does not happen within the next two weeks.  If Comey did write the alleged memo and if Comey is telling the truth, it will mortally wound Trump and subject Comey to criminal sanctions.  If Comey was not entirely honest in the memo and Trump made clear that he was not attempting to obstruct justice, then Comey is still in a real bind.  He has to gamble one way or another on the possibility that Trump actually taped their conversation.  If he testifies under oath to something manifestly disproven by an unaltered recording, he could face many years in federal prison.  So in that scenario, how does Comey roll dice?

All I can say is you might want to stock up on popcorn.

The Curious Murder of Seth Rich

Seth Rich was a young DNC staffer.  Almost a year ago, he was murdered outside of his apartment in DC.  The murder was caught on security camera, though the tape has been described as “grainy,” showing two assailants shooting Rich.  This from Newsweek:

At 4:19 a.m., police patrolling nearby responded to the sound of gunfire in Bloomingdale and found Rich lying mortally wounded at a dark intersection a block and a half from a red-brick row house he shared with friends. He had multiple gunshot wounds in his back. About an hour and 40 minutes later, he died at a local hospital. Police have declined to say whether he was able to describe his assailants.

The cops suspected Rich was a victim of an attempted robbery, one of many that plague the neighborhood. Strangely, however, they found his wallet, credit cards and cellphone on his body. The band of his wristwatch was torn but not broken. . . .

Julian Assange hurled a thunderbolt into the affair a few weeks later. [Assange] announced he was offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the Rich case. He hinted darkly that the slain man had been a source in his organization’s recent publication of 30,000 internal DNC emails.

The investigation by police has gone nowhere.  And while the claim that Rich was the source of the wikileaks trove of DNC documents, that was never proven, at least until certain facts revealed today make it far more likely.  This from Hot Air:

Ten months ago, a staffer for the Democratic National Committee was found shot to death in Washington DC, and police had few leads to pursue. The family of Seth Rich hired a private investigator to look into his murder, and according to the local Fox affiliate, found a connection between Rich and Wikileaks, a connection that some had hypothesized all along. The DC police and FBI insist that it was a botched robbery, but they have shown no evidence of that motive — and the investigator alleges a cover-up has been put in place. . . .

The Fox News report implies that Seth Rich may have been the one who leaked information about the DNC to WikiLeaks that showed, among other things, that the DNC favored Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary. While it’s not clear, the report does note that WikiLeaks posted that information just 12 days after Rich was killed. . . .

The report states federal law enforcement investigators found 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between DNC leaders from January 3015 to May 2016 were sent by Rich to Gavin MacFayden, an American reporter and WikiLeaks director based in London who is now deceased. That information was found in a FBI forensic report on Rich’s computer done within days of his murder. . . .

That alone is a revelation, but what makes it even more curious is this — the only sources that we have for the claim that Russia “hacked” the DNC and provided documents to Wikileaks comes from the DNC and a third party closely associated with the DNC who conducted an examination of the servers.  The FBI has never conducted an independent examination of the DNC servers.  Let that sink in for a moment.  The FBI is supposedly conducting an investigation into Russian meddling in the election and yet has never taken the most basic step of examining the computers involved. That is a dereliction on a scale that would never be allowed in any other case — and should not be allowed in this one.

Could it be that the DNC scapegoated Russia in order to attack Trump, or worse, to cover up involvement in the murder of Seth Rich?  Moreover, we have never heard from the FBI of an analysis matching up the documents found on Rich’s computer with those made public by Wikileaks.  That seems rather important to know.  It would also be important to know what additional materials Rich had promised Wikileaks before his death, and whether his emails indicate that he was concerned for his safety or whether he had any cause to believe that his superiors at the DNC suspected that he might be the source of leaks to Wikileaks.

I would be amazed to find someone in the Clinton world or the DNC was involved in a hit on Seth Rich.  That said, there are enough curious aspects to all of this that it deserves a lot more attention than it has gotten to date.

As Alice noted as she looked through the looking glass, things are just getting “curiouser and curiouser.”