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June 08, 2017

More Comey Fall-Out

A lot of this from Instapundit, or his cobs.

Some of this is duplicative, but I still want to highlight the big take-aways.

Jonathan Turley: Yes, It's Possible Comey Committed a Crime with His Leaks.

The admission of leaking the memos is problematic given the overall controversy involving leakers undermining the Administration. Indeed, it creates a curious scene of a former director leaking material against the President after the President repeatedly asked him to crack down on leakers.

Besides being subject to Nondisclosure Agreements, Comey falls under federal laws governing the disclosure of classified and nonclassified information. Assuming that the memos were not classified (though it seems odd that it would not be classified even on the confidential level), there is 18 U.S.C. § 641 which makes it a crime to steal, sell, or convey "any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof."

There are also ethical and departmental rules against the use of material to damage a former represented person or individual or firm related to prior representation. Lawyers generally ask for clients or employers to release information, particularly when it may be detrimental to the firm or the client or someone associated with your prior representation.

By the way, waking up in the middle of the night (as described by Comey) is not generally the best time to decide to leak damaging memos against a sitting president. There are times when coffee and a full night's sleep (and even conferral with counsel) is recommended. Leaking damaging memos is one of those times. Moreover, if Comey was sure of his right to release the memo, why use a law professor to avoid fingerprints?

I find Comey's admission to be deeply troubling from a professional and ethical standpoint. Would Director Comey have approved such a rule for FBI agents? Thus, an agent can prepare a memo during office hours on an FBI computer about a meeting related to his service . . . but leak that memo to the media. The Justice Department has long defined what constitutes government documents broadly. It is not clear if Comey had the documents reviewed for classification at the confidential level or confirmed that they would be treated as entirely private property. What is clear is that he did not clear the release of the memos with anyone in the government.

If you felt the need to hide your actions, your actions are probably not as upstanding as you might later claim under oath.

Let me add this: Comey seems to be setting up a legal defense for his leaking by claiming that Trump made "defamatory" tweets about him by saying the FBI was "in disarray" and that Comey had lost the trust of the American public.

A lawyer pal of mine says those statements are clearly "opinion" by black-letter libel law, and asks, rhetorically, how can these three things be true simultaneously:

1. Comey is truthful

2. Comey is a learned lawyer

3. Comey claims that statements which are clearly opinion characterizations, which cannot be proven true or false (that is, they are not claims of fact, and thus not libel), are "defamatory."

If Comey claimed they were defamatory, how can he also be both truthful and any kind of decent lawyer?

One could also ask how Comey has re-imagined the law, as he did to give Hillary a free pass, to conjure up a "I can leak if I feel I've been defamed" defense.

Some people are asking about John McCain's mental acumen after his rambling, confusing line of questioning. McCain himself claims that maybe he was tired and stayed up too late last night watching a "ball game."

Yeah, my grandpapa does that too.

Chris Matthews: The "collusion" narrative "came apart" in today's testimony.

Jim Geraghty: Comey's Press Whisperers, who called it "farcical" that Comey could possibly tell Trump "thrice" that he was not personally under investigation, turn out to have been more #FakeNews Narrative Weavers. Because Comey himself admits he did tell Trump that -- exactly "thrice."

And on that point: See the last post for Comey's statement that the NYTimes story claiming "repeated contacts" between Trump staff and Russia, based on leaks by "former and current administration sources," was mostly false.

Why should we continue believing anonymous "former and current administration officials" who constantly pump out #FakeNews? At what point is the media officially culpable in printing up falsehoods from sources proven to be liars?

Not directly related, but Robert Traczinsky reports the media is now gratuitously outing people who aid the special forces just because they don't like Trump.

This morning, The New York Times brought us another breathtaking expose of classified national security information that is really important for the public to know because…um, well, because they just kind of felt like it.

The story is about a contractor for an international shipping company who was captured and held hostage by rebels in Yemen before being released last year. Without the man’s permission or cooperation, The New York Times gives details of his capture and imprisonment, his name, his age, his exact job description with the shipping company, and the location where his wife and children lived at the time (none of which I will repeat here).

Some of this might certainly be of interest to bad actors in the Middle East. But why would any of it be of interest to the American public? Ah, because, "while helping coordinate aid for Unicef and the Red Cross [he] also had a second, secret role: He was shipping materials for elite military commandos under a clandestine contract his employer had with the Pentagon."

Last week the New York Times outed the new CIA chief for Iran; this week, they're outing the personal details of a patriot who maybe -- maybe -- helped get provisions to the special forces.

Special prosecutor, guys. It's not hard.

These people are acting as if Trump is not their president. That's fine for citizens, but not for federal officials with classified clearances. The law is firm on the point that Trump is their president, and their are prison cells where they can ponder this question if it still troubles them.

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posted by Ace at 05:37 PM

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