News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Flynn, RUSSIA, Comey, Holder, Nunes, the FBI and Much, Much More

Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves federal court in Washington, Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Good Monday morning.

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will depart the White House for Joint Base Andrews, en route to Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • The president will then arrive in Salt Lake City, Utah, meet with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Leaders, and tour The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Welfare Square.
  • In the afternoon, the president will give remarks at the Utah State Capitol.
  • The president will then depart Salt Lake City, Utah, for Washington, D.C., en route to the White House.

Today’s must-read: Byron York: In Trump-Russia probe, was it all about the Logan Act?

Flynn, RUSSIA, and Twitter

On Friday, short-lived National Security Advisor to President Trump General Mike Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with former RUSSIAN ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Former FBI director James Comey got all “biblical” about the plea. The morons who have been fed a steady diet of mainstream media partisan rhetoric and hysteria rejoiced! Gotcha! Smoking gun! Resist! One of the moron leaders, ABC News’ Brian Ross, reported and tweeted that Flynn was prepared to testify that “candidate” Trump directed Flynn to contact the RUSSIANS. (Is this illegal?) Ross was suspended without pay for a month because it was not true that Flynn was going to testify about “candidate” Trump but rather the contact was made between Flynn and Kislyak during the transition. Also, not illegal.

Just as an aside, I would like to point out that the feds knew what was discussed in the conversations between Flynn and Kislyak because Kislyak was being monitored. That Flynn was involved with those conversations is the result of an illegal leak to the press and certainly the result of the questionable unmasking of Flynn. If they already knew what Flynn and Kislyak discussed, why did the feds interview him to ask what was discussed? Did they do it to try and get Flynn in a “lie”? It sure looks like that because if the conversation was criminal or showed espionage they could have nabbed Flynn based on the transcript of the calls alone. Of course, those call transcripts, unlike Flynn’s identity, never did leak, I wonder why?

More Twitter controversy: On Sunday, President Trump explained on Twitter why he had to fire Flynn. “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” the @realDonaldTrump account tweeted Saturday.

Some assumed the tweet showed Trump knew Flynn lied to the FBI so they went bananas. “If that was the case, those critics said, Trump could’ve compromised the investigation’s integrity in February when he allegedly asked then-FBI Director James Comey to consider dropping the probe into Flynn, or when he fired the lawman three months later,” writes the New York Daily News. It turns out that Trump’s personal lawyer John Dowd wrote the tweet. “I did not mean to break news,” Dowd said. “I’m out of the tweeting business.”

Dowd attempted to explain Sunday that the tweet was referring to then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates telling White House Counsel Don McGahn in January that Flynn had “given the agents the same story he gave the vice president.”

He also said the agents seemed to think Flynn was confused. “All the president knew was that the department was not accusing him of lying,” Dowd said.

So that’s that.

Trump attacks FBI; Comey, Holder hit back

More Twitter drama. Here’s the background: FBI agent Peter Strzok was removed from the RUSSIAN collusion investigation a.k.a Operation Get Trump because he sent anti-Trump messages to another member of Mueller’s lynch mob. Biased much? It gets better because this is the guy who headed up the Clinton email investigation. Who doesn’t have complete confidence in the FBI — raise your hand? President Trump did one better and hit the return button on a tweet.

On Sunday morning Trump tweeted: “After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.”  He also tweeted:

Then came the pushback.

Eric Holder, who was held in contempt of Congress, responded:

And James Comey, fired by Trump, also responded:

Someone else has had enough of the FBI

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) is also fed up with the FBI.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has instructed his staff to draw up a contempt of Congress citation for FBI Director Christopher Wray and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, after it was revealed Saturday that a top FBI agent was removed from the Trump-Russia investigation for possible anti-Trump bias.

Nunes repeatedly asked the FBI why Peter Strzok, mentioned above, was fired but received no response. I guess the FBI only answers to the NYT and the WaPo?

As part of the intelligence committee’s investigation into the Trump-Russia probe and the anti-Trump dossier, Nunes asked the Justice Department several times why Strzok had been removed from the investigation, according to the Washington Examiner. The committee even issued a subpoena on Aug. 24 requesting information on Strzok’s reassignment.

Nunes and his committee followed up five separate times between Oct. 11 and Dec. 1. Each time, however, the DOJ and FBI failed to answer the committee’s questions. It was only after the Times and Post stories hit the presses that the DOJ informed Nunes they would grant his requests — well, at least some of them.

From the Washington Examiner: “The Post reported that Strzok and Page exchanged text messages that ‘expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton.'” Oh, OK.

“By hiding from Congress, and from the American people, documented political bias by a key FBI head investigator for both the Russia collusion probe and the Clinton email investigation, the FBI and DOJ engaged in a willful attempt to thwart Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibility,” Nunes said in a statement Saturday afternoon. “This is part of a months-long pattern by the DOJ and FBI of stonewalling and obstructing this committee’s oversight work, particularly oversight of their use of the Steele dossier. At this point, these agencies should be investigating themselves.”

How could anyone have faith in the DOJ with these types of shenanigans taking place?

[Alleged] sexual predator update

Today, there will be a rally in Detroit to support alleged sexual harasser Rep. John Conyers.

The rally, first reported by the Detroit Free Press, is meant to send a message to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats who have called on Conyers to resign, after initially declining to do so. The rally will feature Democratic state representatives as well as local NAACP leaders, according to the paper. Conyers’ wife will also be present.

State Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo chalks up the calls for Conyers to resign as “racially-motivated.”

“We always see a difference when the leader is a person of color. There’s a rush to judgement. It tells us that African Americans are disposable and that’s why people are not engaged in the political process. We’re just used to help carry the vote and we’re not going to accept that anymore.”

Heading over to Broadway, casting director Justin Huff has been “let go” from his employer after several allegations of sexual harassment surfaced. The Metropolitan Opera is also involved in the sexual harassment tsunami: “The Metropolitan Opera suspended James Levine, its revered conductor and former music director, on Sunday after three men came forward with accusations that Mr. Levine sexually abused them decades ago, when the men were teenagers.”

Have you noticed the communities traditionally associated with progressives, the ones loudly lecturing and finger-wagging about social tolerance and respect, are the ones most guilty of bad behavior? Me too.

This week, you will see an all-woman line-up on on NBC’s “Today Show” and “CBS This Morning” if you watch these shows (and I bet you don’t).

Historical picture of the day:

Self-described agnostic Ishmael Jaffree of Mobile, Ala., left, and his attorney Ronnie Williams, pause on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building after the court heard arguments on the legality of an Alabama law allowing public school students to begin each day with a moment of silence, Dec. 4, 1984. Jaffree has challenged the law.( AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Other morsels:

President ‘still looking into a lot of facts’ on Jerusalem action, embassy move, Kushner says

NRA member offered ‘Kremlin connection’ to Trump campaign

MSNBC’s Joy Reid Wrote Multiple Anti-Gay Articles, Conspiracies on Her Old Blog

MSNBC host apologizes for LGBT comments: ‘I am disappointed in myself’

McConnell: ‘Let the people of Alabama make the call’ on Moore

Media breathless over McFarland memo. Is Trump next?

Warner calls for McFarland to testify about ‘thrown’ election emails

Protesters spell out ‘Go Home Trump’ on Utah Capitol lawn ahead of Trump visit

Trump urging Hatch to run again in Utah to block Romney from Senate: report

CVS Health to buy Aetna for $69B

Pink is raising her children gender-neutral — ‘We are a very label-less household’

VA knowingly hires doctors with past malpractice claims, discipline for poor care

Taco Bell is testing a french fry-stuffed burrito

The Senate tax bill would allow oil drilling in Alaskan wilderness

Russia practiced electronic warfare on its own troops during a massive military exercise this year

Obama cites ‘absence of American leadership’ on climate

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!