Follow-Up On “That Thing”

In a post yesterday about former FBI Director James Comey’s statement to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I focused on one question I would have asked Comey. It had to do with the last conversation Comey ever had with Tr-mp, on April 11, in which Tr-mp said:

Because I have been very loyal to you, very loyal; we had that thing you know.

I wrote yesterday:

…my attention was directed at Comey’s lack of interest, or curiosity, in what Tr-mp meant by “that thing.” That lack of curiosity to find out what Tr-mp meant seems very odd to me, especially in the context of  Tr-mp’s “I have been very loyal to you, very loyal” preface. Comey says he “did not reply or ask him what he meant.” Why? Why wouldn’t the FBI Director, who clearly by the time of this call was worried about interference from Tr-mp, not want to know what “that thing” meant?

Now, I watched the hearing for two and a half hours and after all that time no one had yet bothered to ask him anything about what I considered a crucial matter. It was crucial because, as I put it,

It appears to me Tr-mp was directly suggesting that he had some “understanding” with Comey or that he had been trying to obtain some understanding or that he wanted Comey to think he would tell others he in fact had such an understanding. In other words, Tr-mp may have been purposely suggesting that Comey had been compromised by all of their discussions or that he saw it that way and might tell others about it. So, why wouldn’t Comey, knowing he would document this very important conversation, want to get Tr-mp on the record about such a crucial matter? It could have been impeachment-worthy information. Wasn’t obstruction of justice ever on Comey’s mind?

Lo and behold, just when I had given up hope, at the end of the hearing the question about “that thing” was finally asked. Unfortunately, it was asked by John McCain, whose previous questions were, well, to put it kindly, unworthy of your drunk uncle, not to mention a U.S. Senator. In any case, McCain did ask about “that thing” and here are the relevant parts of how that went:

MCCAIN: …when the president said to you — you talked about the April 11th phone call, and he said, quote, “Because I’ve been very loyal to you, very loyal. We had that thing, you know,” did that arouse your curiosity as what, quote, “that thing” was?

COMEY: Yes.

MCCAIN: Why didn’t you ask him?

COMEY: It didn’t seem to me to be important for the conversation we were having, to understand it. I took it to be some — an effort to — to communicate to me this — that there is a relationship between us where I’ve been good to you, you should be good to me.

MCCAIN: Yeah, but I — I think it would intensely arouse my curiosity if the president of the United States said “We had that thing, you know” — I’d like to know what the hell that thing is, particularly if I’m the director of the FBI.

COMEY: Yeah, I — I get that, Senator. Honestly, I’ll tell you what — this is speculation, but what I concluded at the time is, in his memory, he was searching back to our encounter at the dinner, and was preparing himself to say, “I offered loyalty to you, you promised loyalty to me,” and all of a sudden his memory showed him that did not happen, and I think he pulled up short.

That’s just a guess, but I — I — a lot of conversations with humans over the years.

MCCAIN: I think I would have had some curiosity if it had been about me, to be honest with you.

Okay. So, we now know why Comey didn’t bother to ask Tr-mp what “that thing” meant. It was because Comey was sure he already knew what it meant. He knew what Tr-mp was getting at:

I took it to be some — an effort to — to communicate to me this — that there is a relationship between us where I’ve been good to you, you should be good to me.

In other words, Comey believed Tr-mp thought the then-FBI Director was somehow compromised by their exchanges, by their “relationship.” Now, given that, given what Comey said in response to McCain’s question, if I were a Republican trying to defend the indefensible Tr-mp, I would use this against Comey. Why? Because it was clear from yesterday’s fascinating and historic testimony, that Comey believes Tr-mp committed, or ineptly tried to commit, obstruction of justice. That is why Comey engineered, through leaking his memo to the press, the establishment of a special prosecutor. And if I were a Republican, trying to undermine (as almost all of them shamefully were) this obvious conclusion from Comey’s testimony, I would have drilled Comey along these lines. If I were a coherent John McCain I would followed up with this:

COHERENT JOHN MCCAIN: If, Mr. Comey, you thought “that thing” was Tr-mp’s way of trying to “communicate” to you that there was a “I’ve been good to you, you should be good to me” relationship between you, and if you believed that Tr-mp was at least flirting with obstruction of justice, then why didn’t you simply ask him directly what “that thing” meant? Why didn’t you get him on the record, so that you could memoralize his answer?

You went to a lot of trouble today, Mr. Comey, to make Tr-mp look guilty of something, especially obstruction of justice, and you had your chance, when he talked about “that thing” in the context of loyalty, to really nail him down on what he meant. Don’t you think, as the leader of the nation’s top law enforcement agency, as someone who was clearly troubled by Tr-mp’s behavior, that you should have used your investigative instincts to draw more from Tr-mp at that moment? The fact that you didn’t bother to do that leads me to believe that you really didn’t take all that seriously the idea that Tr-mp meant to commit obstruction of justice, isn’t that right?

Obviously there was no coherent John McCain present yesterday, and obviously, if there were, I don’t know how Comey would have responded to such reasoning and such a question. But I do think Comey missed a perfect opportunity on April 11 to get Tr-mp to fire the gun of obstruction of justice right in front of him, if he had not just assumed (and I think assumed correctly) that he knew what Tr-mp meant and that Tr-mp’s actions had already amounted to an attempt at obstruction. (Incidentally, the obstruction of justice Image result for heavyweight fighter versus lightweightgun was fired with a firing, when, on May 9, just short of a month after their last talk, Tr-mp dismissed Comey in an awkward and cowardly way.)

All in all, Comey’s appearance and testimony, whether they will admit it publicly or not, rattled Republicans in Congress, at least those who aren’t cultishly tied to Agent Orange. It was a devastating counterpunch from a heavyweight fighter against an intellectually and morally malnourished kid who has no business being in the ring of leadership of our fragile democracy. And the fact that Tr-mp and his lawyer are now furiously trying to trash the integrity of James Comey proves that beyond any doubt.

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15 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  June 9, 2017

    Let’s see, the ex top law official in the US testifies in detail that Trump implied he should end the Flynn investigation and fired him when he didn’t stop investigating. Trump claims the conversation never happened, and CNN reports today that Trump will testify to that under oath. We already have a special counsel, why not just let him hear them both in court. Pretty sure that Mueller can sort this out. One is definitely a liar, and Trump’s history of prevarications, leaves little doubt as to credibility.

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    • The problem is that there is no “court” applicable to the presidency in cases like this. Tr-mp, acting as president, is above any federal law or statute. He can’t be hauled into court for obstruction of justice or abuse of power. The only remedy is impeachment and a subsequent conviction. It’s never happened before in our history and, with what we have seen from the Republican Party, it’s not going to happen now. The only hope we have is that things get so bad legislatively, by all the distractions, that after next primary season is over, enough Republicans will be willing to dump him and put in Pence, so as to get their agenda accomplished before the 2018 election comes (and that’s a frightening prospect in and of itself). Impeachment plus conviction is the longest of shots because it would require sustained integrity on the part of the Republican Party, not something we have seen in a couple of generations now.

      Duane

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  2. I fear that what we’re gonna get is a big fat ZERO. I won’t matter what the facts are, the GOP will find ways to string this out forever. How much power will any investigation have with the Grotesquely Obstructionist Patricians in charge? Trump isn’t going anywhere as long as Ryan and McConnell and Sessions are around. This will go until at least the 2018 elections. Trump could blow up the world by then. Public education will be gone along with clean air, healthcare and any restrictions on Wall Street. And what about those elections? The combination of the lazy, mindless American electorate and GOP voter suppression will keep everything in Republican control. Trump won’t win in 2020, but the US will be a shell of itself by then. Hide and watch.

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    • I hope you are wrong about how fast the country will deteriorate. And I hope I am wrong that the damage that Tr-mp has done, continues to do, may be irreversible, even if we get rid of him sooner or later.

      Your fear that this is not going to end with justice is one I share. I have to express it to people I know all the time. I have to break it to them that the political system handed down to us by the Founders had a major flaw in it, if someone as dumb and corrupt and mentally unstable as Tr-mp can not only get into office, but remain there despite what we have seen.

      The truth is, as I have said many times, the presidency of the United States is an executive position that is above any federal law, any criminal statute. He (so far; let’s hope a she gets a chance next time) is only limited by the political decisions made by Congress, the ultimate one being impeachment and conviction. People fail to realize that impeachment won’t damage Tr-mp at all, if he is not convicted by the Senate. It will only strengthen him, in terms of the cultish political base he has. And we are light years away from any real impeachment talk, as the Comey matter demonstrates.

      No clearer example of obstruction of justice and/or abuse of power will we likely see than what Comey and his firing presented to us. There isn’t going to be a Perry Mason moment where some president stands up in the middle of the proceedings and shouts, “Hell yes I fired that SOB to stop this damned investigation!,” even though Tr-mp’s several admissions (one of them to the goddamned Russians, for God’s sake) come as close as one could expect. And despite what is obvious to so many of us, despite the fact that we can see Tr-mp is a corrupt, if clumsy, figure, despite the fact that he may be the darkest force to ever occupy the White’s House (and that is saying something), the most dangerous place to be is between congressional Republicans and a microphone, when it comes time to defend the indefensible.

      It really is quite unbelievable.

      Duane

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  3. The only difference in my mind between a wild political novel and current events is that the latter is more bizarre. As to obstruction of justice, the interactions of Comey and Trump are the equivalent of this:

    Hey, Comey, just between us guys, I heard youse been investigating my buddy, the General. Why you doing that? Just wondering, ’cause he’s a good guy, ya know? By the way, mister FBI director, that’s a nice 10-year career you got goin’ there. Be a shame if something should happen to it. Just sayin’.

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    • Excellent, Jim. And you and I both know that most people who read Comey’s statement or heard his testimony know what you say is true. It was a gangster moment, even though it was almost cartoonish in its execution. Yet we see Republican after Republican in Congress, who know better, defending Tr-mp or trashing Comey or both. I know I shouldn’t be stunned by that fact, but I confess it still does stun me, even after all we have seen from the GOP.

      Our country is in serious trouble—a majority of us can see that. But very few of us, at least speaking for myself, can see a way out, if we can’t rid ourselves of a public menace like Agent Orange. It really is a sad commentary on our political system, which failed us in the election of Tr-mp, and continues to fail us every day he sits in the White’s House.

      Duane

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  4. ansonburlingame

     /  June 10, 2017

    Duane, again,

    I expected a far broader condemnation of Trump by you after the Comey testimony but you have only focused on “that thing”. I provided my observation on that simple point in the previous comment on that initial blog by you. I stand by that observation (and thus agree with Jim’s characterization above). When you deal with Trump you are dealing with “Tony Soprano”. Note: Tony Soprano was never successfully prosecuted and put in jail.

    I pose this question to you Duane, and other strong liberal’s herein. ASSUME, if you can, that Trump espoused all the policies of say Bernie Sanders, European style socialism for America. Given such political intentions would you “support and defend” Trump (the hypothetical political Trump) if he expressed extreme anger, frustration, etc. with the governing process in America?

    There is an interesting column in the WaPost by Dana Milbank. He references Hamilton’s ideas expressed in Federalists Papers that the process to put in place a President in the new nation of America was so “sound” that in his view (Hamilton’s) a man (woman) of truly bad character would never make the “cut” (win a presidential election in America). Milbank goes on to say we have had lousy President’s but the overall assessment of “bad character” related to everything he touches has never before been consistently raised during a presidency, expect by fringe naysayers. Milbank concludes by saying that Trump is now unique in the 237 year history of presidencies in that the vast majority (some 70% or so) believe that Trump is “just a bad actor and therefore …….”

    The General says it well. Get rid of Trump and you are still left with policies that you all hate. In the hypothetical example I suggested for you to consider is “what if you loved the policies” but had a rotten apple trying to govern with such policy goals.

    The way I phrased the situation a month of so ago in comments on this blog is what must we do now that we have a “damned Yankee” in the Presidency. I am not expressing bigotry against all “Yankees” but do have in mind the fat, rich, money-grubbing type characters that represented such people in the South during reconstruction after the Civil War.

    I can assure you that in my growing up years in the “South” we viewed “Yankees” with much greater disdain, the fictional Yankee, than other groups of people. The blacks at that time stayed put in their assigned “place” but those “damned Yankees” would …… all the time, or so I was told.

    So I wonder today, given a person of despicable “character” in the WH what is the Constitutional process to get rid of him? Is this really the first time in American history the country has faced such a situation and how do we get out of it, legally and IAW the Constitution, given where we are right now?

    Perhaps more important becomes how can America possible govern itself with the current situation. If in fact we the people are breaking new ground, constitutionally, there will be unending arguments over legal issues, beginning with “what is really, obstruction of justice” in the case of Trump’s actions. Lawyers can and will argue that point for a long time now. It may take years for such a process to be resolved in courts of law, including a Senate trial. In the meantime, “what next, today and for a long run of tomorrows”. Is just sit and bitch about it constructive, for America?

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      As far as a broader condemation of Tr-mp, at this point all that can be said about how corrupt and disordered he is has been said. The only thing left now on that front is to simply chronicle the continued corruption and chaos, as well as the sad and disturbing toleration of it by the Republican Party.

      But I will answer the question you posed, one I have considered many, many times, and post it later tonight on the blog or early tomorrow. It is an interesting question and it requires some effort to get what I want to say said correctly. That will take more time than I have right now.

      Duane

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  5. Anonymous

     /  June 11, 2017

    Anson,

    You want a stronger condemnation of Trump? What about the fact that he didn’t ask Comey for loyalty to country, but instead asked for personal loyalty! Could you imagine him asking the commander of a nuclear sub for personal loyalty? Where in hell do Republicans draw the line? I believe Trump could actually shoot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue and be found not guilty in a Republican court. Party before country Republicans are disgusting in their efforts to legitimize a president with such glaring mental defects.

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  6. ansonburlingame

     /  June 12, 2017

    Anonymous,

    I have thought of that issue related to loyalty long before you asked it above. And yes, I have considered it within the context of military affairs, even more specifically how I would react if say a junior officer crossed some “loyalty” line. It is not at all a simple issue and echos the defenses by war criminals post WWII trials.

    Every officer in the military swears alliegance to the Constitution, just like every President, etc. That means, essentially, that such people swear alliegance to America, a system of government enshrined in the Constitution.

    Stephan Decature once said “My country, right or wrong, my country”. That is in essence a statement of loyalty to “my country”. In the military that means it is a statement of loyalty to the chain of command, the individuals, starting at the top and moving down to a mess cook washing dishes in a galley aboard a nuclear submarine carrying a few hundred nuclear warheads, ready for launch (when on “patrol”) in about 15 minutes. Each person in that chain must be “loyal”, except when any orders for such release of WMD become “illegal orders”.

    Now you tell me how any single individual at sea for 70 days, cut off from normal human contact, can tell a legal order to launch from an illegal one. If the crew is ordered (by the skipper) to battle stations to follow an order to release nuclear weapons there is not time to hold an “all hands meeting” to discuss the legality of such orders.

    But there is a very solid “system” in place called “two man rule” that means the orders received over the radio or other communications systems meets ALL requirements for correctness, etc. The same series of code words or letters originating from the “football” are transmitted down through the COC to the skipper holding the final trigger to allow such a launch to proceed. Next event is “missile one is away” soon to be followed by 24 other such missiles, etc.

    Nuclear command and control, like other military systems that “release deadly force” have been around since WWII. What happens when a “nut” gains the position of President of the United States? If you recall, I stated during the campaign that I would seriously consider resigning my commission had I been on active duty in submarines carrying WMD if Trump was elected. If I had a grandson is such a position today, I would at least challenge his thought process with such questions, today. It would be HIS decision, but I would “test his thinking” for sure.

    Of course the challenge to that point above is who, specifically, gets to decide if the President is a “nut”. Remember there are literally thousands of men and women in that direct COC related to just nuclear weapons. Do they get a “vote” on the matter? Of course not but……..

    When I was a plebe (freshman) in college there was a whole book of famous quotes from the Naval past with Decature’s being one of them that I had to memorize and “believe”. Is such indoctrination wrong, today?

    One final point for today’s world. In the military there is a system called the “Personal Reliabilty Program” (PRP). Every single member of any branch of the military that has anything whatsoever to do with nuclear weapons must be “in” that program. To get into it and stay in it (mess cook, to skipper, to ……, on up) is subject to a rigorous and continuing program of external scrutiny including FBI background checks, financial reporting, etc., etc. Today that would include a review of participation in social media as well, I hope.

    By expressing such thoughts as herein I assure you that “someone” would suggest that I be removed from the PRP and thus unauthorized to perform any and all duties requiring “loyalty” to the President and/or “my country”.

    With Trump in the WH today, it raises such issues to a critical point in my view. It is one thing to rant and rave on a blog. But when a career officer in the military has such ideas in his head, is he honor bound to leave that career and start all over? My view on that point is that it must be an individual decision and unless such a person decides to leave his/her career (with all the personal consequences of same) then as long as they remain in uniform they MUST remain loyal to “their country”.

    And yes, remaining loyal means keeping your damn mouth shut on political matters while in uniform. As well, I have no idea how young men and women should be “indoctrinated” in preparation for their own commissioning in the military services today. What was it MacAuthur said, “Duty, Honor, Loyalty”. Does that still apply today?

    Anson

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    • <blockquote?What was it MacAuthur said, “Duty, Honor, Loyalty”. Does that still apply today?
      Actually, Anson, what MacArthur said was “Duty, Honor, Country.” But I agree generally with how you describe the loyalty issue in the armed forces. There is very good reason why military service is a young person’s game, and it goes well beyond just physical requirements. Life seems pretty simple when you are young, a series of challenges and a need to belong to something greater than one’s self. The complexities look much different to me from the perspective of advanced years, and that includes the realization that people in power are often not nearly as wise as they once seemed.

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  7. Anonymous

     /  June 12, 2017

    Anson,

    Duty, Honor, Loyalty are antithetical to anything Trump or his supporters practice. You know damn well if Trump had asked you for personal loyalty, as opposed to loyalty for the constitution, then you would have refused as Comey did. Only a psychotic individual would ask such a demand. Trump himself said that he wanted the Russian investigation stopped, with all that we know from Manafort, Flynn, Page, Stone, and possibly Sessions after tomorrow’s testimony, how can you not see the writing on the wall?

    If your superior officer on active duty had told you he “hoped” you could pilot your sub to a particular location, then you know damn well you better have your butt there. Trump demanded Comey stop the investigation, and when he didn’t, he fired him. Plain and simple, just like Trump. To suggest that Comey is lying, Trump exhibits narcissism at it’s peak. Trump has removed the safeguards at the EPA, Dodd-Frank, Climate change, and the freaking National Parks. Meantime, back at the ranch, Republicans are removing 23 million people off insurance, and bringing back “pre-existing” medical conditions, without allowing Democratic input or compromise amendments.

    Hell, even John McCain has came out and stated to the press that Obama was a far better leader than Trump. Your party’s leader has insulted Europe and embraced Saudi’s, as well as his domestic assaults. Is this what you associate with “Make America Great Again”? People in your party that normalize this psychopathic leader do not do it for reason, they do it for ideals like polltution to the environment, removing life saving treatment for the poor, destroying Nat’l Parks, and being one of three countries in the world that deny climate change. My father told me to choose my friends wisely, for they reflect on you. Your friends are in need of guidance from Duty, Honor, Loyalty.

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    • Butting in again, you raise an important point here:

      If your superior officer on active duty had told you he “hoped” you could pilot your sub to a particular location, then you know damn well you better have your butt there.

      As you point out, if Captain Burlingame refused such a “suggestion” and then was subsequently stripped of his command, everyone, including the Captain, would know why. Except that we have an overwhelming number of people, many of them in GOP leadership, who are more than willing to deny what is so obvious in the Tr-mp-Comey case. The amazing intellectual gymnastics required to deny the obvious (and deny “Duty, Honor, Loyalty”) are motivated by, as you say, the desire to enact a cruel agenda. How weird is all this?

      Duane

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  8. ansonburlingame

     /  June 13, 2017

    Interesting exchange, another one.

    The single most important issue that dominated my entire four years in college was “Honor”. If a naval officer (or midshipman in college) was unable to be honorable he was nothing, no matter what his particular expertise might have been. And of course NO naval officer has ever been completely honorable as they (we) were all human.

    Is loyalty the same as honor? Not at all. Nazi’s were loyal to Hitler and of course were in no way honorable in many cases. But a military officer (or any “employee” as well) must be loyal to the office of those above (and below) him within his chain of command. He can choose to resign, thus negating the need for loyalty, but he should NEVER CHOSE to be dishonorable.

    Let me put it more simply. In any position, civilian or military, government or private, I should be loyal to people over or under me. When they, my superiors make a decision I must do my best (or quit the job) to ensure it is executed as ordered, or ordered by me to those under my authority. But rather than should, I must be honorable. Then I must ask myself, “honorable to what”. Simple answer is honorable enough to do what is “right” as best as I can determine “right” in a given situation.

    Did I get that right, Jim. You know as much about this as I do.

    Try this one, Duane. If I was soon to take command of a ship with nuclear weapons, would it be proper for the Admiral over me (or the President himself) to ask, “If you are ordered to launch your weapons will you be loyal and do it?” If I cannot unequivocally say “Yes Sir” I have no business going to command of any ship, right?

    In saying “Yes Sir” to that legitimate question, I would be loyal to the institutions through which that order would have been generated, loyal to the system of government under which I served. It would NOT be loyalty to any one man however. Big difference. And, Yes, in such a case I would say to myself and others, “My country, right or wrong, my country”. And Yes, in doing so I could become a war criminal as well if the other side won.

    If Duane, I was called into the office of COMSUBLANT (Commander of all submarines in the Atlantic) and he said, “Anson, I hope you can take your ship to ……., do a job and then come home (in peacetime)” I can imagine all sorts of situations where I would say No, that is a bad idea, emphatically. If he then said, “Thanks for the input. Now go do what I will order you to do” which he had every right to say to me. Then I have one of two simple choices.

    I could be loyal and “go” or I could ask to be relieved from command, pure and simple. Either choice by me could well be honorable but only one would be loyal to that chain of command. Now you tell me how many people you have known professionally that would walk off a job with no “safety net” under them and hope for the best. Most will stay on the job and do their best to undercut the organization, leak information, do whatever they can (sometimes illegally) to be sure the boss does not get his way. That is not honorable. That is being a self-righteous know it all, an “I’ll show YOU” type of employee.

    Bad, terrible “bosses” can cause that to happen for sure. But dysfunctional disloyalty can destroy companies or organizations as well. Who is smart enough to tell the difference when a company or organization is floundering??

    One final note. If you were a mid-level, career civil servant working in DC and you “hated Trump”, did not vote for him and thought he was “crazy”, should you remain in your cushy job with some of the best benefits in the world, or should you quit government service?

    Some young women has just allegedly leaked highly classified materials, maybe to undercut Trump. First question, given her social media materials now available, should she be denied a security clearance of any sort or does “free speech” prevail in such a case? Is it an act of both disloyalty to your employee (to violate the law and leak classified material) AND a dishonorable act as well to violate your sworn duty to protect such material? If you had been her father what advice would you have given her, before she went off the rails, allegedly.

    Anson

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    • Anson,

      I think we have got off on the wrong analogy somehow, or taken it way too far.

      Here’s the thing for me: comparing the situation of a doubt-plagued commander of a nuclear-armed ship (and the accompanying expectation that one expects the commander to follow lawful orders, including launching the nukes) with what happened between Tr-mp and Comey is misplaced. The military environment is much different from the civilian environment, especially when we are talking about the FBI and its position in the executive branch of government.

      In practice, the legitimacy and integrity of the FBI is tied to its independence, not to its loyalty to the president or anyone in the executive branch, including the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General. That wouldn’t be true of you, captain of a ship, and your Admiral. Your legitimacy and integrity wouldn’t be connected to your independence, except in the most extreme of circumstances (like, say, you had good reason to believe the Admiral, or whoever might give you an order to launch a nuke, was demonstrably nuts). Comey, as a representative of the FBI, was looking out for the integrity of his agency (and his own, obviously) and had every right, in fact, a duty, to do so. His duty and allegiance was never tied to Tr-mp, even though Tr-mp heads the executive branch and, thus, had the power to fire him without cause.

      I guess what I am saying in shorthand is this: your default position as a military commander would be to curb your independence and follow orders. Comey’s default position was to maintain his independence despite any order, explicit or implicit.

      As far as the leaker you mentioned, her case is much different from, say, the Snowden case, as far as I’m concerned. I speak in terms of the material released, which was clearly meant to “undercut Tr-mp,” or, really, his lies. It didn’t have any value to our enemies, as far as I can tell, and therefore she shouldn’t be judged as harshly as Snowden. That having been said, she was careless in her leaking, which was dumb, and she violated her “duty to protect such material,” as you put it. I would have told her, if I were her father, to follow her conscience but be ready to accept the consequences. And there will be consequences. I just think they shouldn’t be as draconian as others think. Her case seems much closer to whistleblower status as some of the others, even though she did not follow the procedures open to such whistleblowers and should face some penalty. It can’t become the norm for folks in the intelligence world to leak secrets with impunity, but we must all admit some secrets aren’t really secrets.

      Duane

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