Monday, December 04, 2017

Watergate Was Nothing Compared to This

First thing every morning I skipped down two flights of stairs to get the Boston Globe because I couldn’t wait to read the latest developments in the Watergate scandal then bringing down the Nixon Administration. Familiar as I still am with those details, they pale by comparison to abuses of power under the Obama Administration and its collusion with the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign recently coming to light.

President Nixon’s campaign had hired a group called “the plumbers” to plug leaks of information from his administration to the media. Their activities were legal up to the point when they broke into to a rented office of DNC Chairman Larry O’Brien in Washington, DC’s Watergate Hotel, hence the name of the infamous scandal. They were hoping to find embarrassing information to hurt Democrat presidential candidate George McGovern’s 1972 campaign against Nixon.

During the long investigation into this break-in, other illegal activities came to light including another break-in to the office of Daniel Ellsburg’s psychiatrist. Ellsburg had leaked the classified “Pentagon Papers,” which revealed that some of Nixon’s public statements about his conduct of the Vietnam War were erroneous, and the New York Times published them. Nixon was not aware of the Watergate break-in until the Washington Post began publishing stories about it. At that point he began using his executive power to thwart the investigation. That led to credible charges of “obstruction of justice,” for which he resigned to avoid impeachment.

Nixon had contemplated other abuses of his power like using the IRS to harass political enemies of which he had made an infamous list. He never did, but Americans were appalled that he considered it. The Obama Administration, however, did more than consider it. It actually used the IRS to harass political enemies, but The Washington Post and the rest of mainstream media were disinclined to investigate.

Conservative pundits claim most of the 62,979,879 Americans who voted for Trump last year believe Democrats, Republican leadership, and Mainstream Media all cooperate with each other against them. Variously called “Bitter Clingers” by Obama and “Deplorables” by Hillary Clinton, Trump supporters see their man as someone with the temperament necessary to kick all their a**es while he “drains the swamp” in which they all reside.

Denizens of the swamp went into a collective panic when Trump unexpectedly won. After the shock wore off, the lame-duck Obama Administration began laying traps for him using an obscure, never-enforced 1799 law called “The Logan Act” according to columnist Byron York. Using the Logan Act as justification, Obama officials cited the dodgy “Trump Dossier” constructed by an opposition research firm paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democrat National Committee (DNC). FBI agent Peter Strzok, whom Special Counsel Mueller recently dismissed from his investigation, used the dodgy dossier to obtain FISA warrants to wiretap both the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team.

Strzok and Mueller

It was Strzok, presumably under the direction of then-FBI Director Comey, who offered to pay $50,000 of taxpayer money to Christopher Steele, author of the dodgy dossier, to continue his research against Donald Trump during the campaign! Strzok also led the dubious FBI “investigation” of Hillary Clinton’s emails. Compared to these revelations, Nixon’s actions during Watergate seem trivial. Why aren’t Washington Post reporters looking into these developments?

Under dubious authority, other Obama officials including Susan Rice and Samantha Power requested hundreds of FISA transcripts including General Flynn’s December, 2016 contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during Trump’s transition. They unmasked Flynn to set him up for FBI interrogation four days after Trump’s inauguration. ABC reporter Brian Ross breathlessly reported last Friday that Trump directed Flynn’s conversations during the campaign! Ross had to retract it hours later and was suspended by ABC, but not before his report caused the stock market to plunge.

Flynn and Kushner

According the Buzzfeed, it was Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner who instructed Flynn to contact Kislyak and discuss the then-upcoming UN Security Council vote against Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. According to Fox News, it was K.T. McFarland. Whoever it was, their instruction was during the transition after Trump had won — not during the campaign — and therefore not within the realm of Mueller’s original charge to investigate alleged Russia/Trump campaign collusion. It’s perfectly reasonable for a transition official like Flynn to contact foreign governments, yet Flynn evidently lied about them to the FBI. Why? We don’t know.

As of this writing, neither Mueller nor anyone else has yet found evidence of Trump/Russia campaign collusion despite a year-and-a-half of investigations by mainstream media and Congressional Democrats. Trump supporters see them all as part of “the swamp” conspiring to bring down the Trump Administration. For that, there’s plenty of evidence.

Watergate was nothing compared to what I’m seeing now.


Uber_Fritz said...

"As of this writing, neither Mueller nor anyone else has yet found evidence of Trump/Russia campaign collusion despite a year-and-a-half of investigations by mainstream media and Congressional Democrats. Trump supporters see them all as part of “the swamp” conspiring to bring down the Trump Administration. For that, there’s plenty of evidence."

This conclusion is directly on point! And, as you know, Brian Ross was suspended for broadcasting false information and I submit that it was intentional. Furthermore, this deceptive information (I refuse to call it erroneous.) had a profound impact on the market. Ross needs to be fired, not merely suspended.

I find it distressing that people will be prosecuted for fabricating to the FBI because of the dual standard being applied. And, there is certainly Federal law as follows:

"Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in "any matter within the jurisdiction" of the federal government of the United States, even by mere denial[clarification needed].[1] A number of notable people have been convicted under the section, including Martha Stewart,[2] Rod Blagojevich,[3] Michael T. Flynn[4], Scooter Libby,[5] Bernard Madoff,[6], and Jeffrey Skilling [7]."

The source in quotes, supra, is Wikipedia. However, the language comes directly from Federal Code: 18 U.S.C. § 1001.

Now, HRC has made such statements in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. We shall see what becomes of her and The Clinton Foundation!

Anonymous said...

Like everyone else, I'm sick to death as to why HRC has not been indicted, prosecuted and in jail by now. The NerO Administration operated much like the government of a Third World country. If HRC isn't punished, then how are we to ever trust our Federal government?

Brian said...

"As of this writing, neither Mueller nor anyone else has yet found evidence of Trump/Russia campaign collusion despite a year-and-a-half of investigations"

You do realize of course, that people were most definitely saying the same thing a year-and-a-half after the Watergate break-ins.

So congratulations, you outdid yourself. Your columns are usually funny, but this "obamagate" one was hysterical! You should submit it to "The Onion"!

If you want to pretend that there is nothing wrong with getting caught in lie after lie after lie after lie about meeting and corresponding with Russia, that's your right. You can pretend there is nothing behind all the lies, no reason. Just innocent lies. After all, it's "your" guys doing the lying right, so it's ok. Why be concerned with the obvious hold Putin has over his boy Donald. Got Little Trumpy too nervous to say the slightest thing wrong about Russia. Go ahead, stick your heads in a hole. Nothing to see here. Look over there....Obamagate! Tee hee.

"It’s an embarrassingly inapt comparison," said Thomas Mann, senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. "We certainly have no evidence that there was any intervention on the side of the White House."

And still the dopey "Lock her up"?!? There very well may be people locked up soon, which I'm sure Hillary will get a kick out of. As they say "Karma's a bitch"! Like Hillary, right! But she who laughs last....

Gosh, this is so fun watching the great unraveling.

And about the photo with the shirt about what people get called by Obama,etc - The final line should really be....."Trump calls me a sucker". He sure just suckered the middle class into a bum deal on taxes! And suckered them about draining the ever murkier swamp! He even has suckered some people into thinking he cares about them at all (unless they are already uber wealthy)!!!

Thanks for the fun read.

Anonymous said...

Trump actually hasn't suckered many people at all with his tax reform. The approval rating for it is, astonishingly, even lower than his own pathetic approval rating. But do Republican lawmakers care? Hell no, they have to pay back their sugar daddy donors at whatever cost, even the health of our country. Who cares what the people think or want. Rush through quick legislation before it really sinks in what a con job it is.

Anonymous said...

"how are we to ever trust our Federal government?"

Well, your guys are in charge and still HRC is not being indicted. Think about that. Perhaps there are reasons. As in lack of evidence? So as for trusting the government, definitely not while the current clowns are in charge. But it won't be for long.

Rick said...

"Watergate was nothing compared to this"

When I saw the headline I thought for a second that Tom had finally woken up and come to his senses about the severity of Trump's obstruction of justice and collusion with a hostile nation. But no, he has simply retreated further back into his safe bubble of disinformation and delusion.

Brian said...

This obsession about locking up Hillary got me thinking about Fake News, and what a real problem it is. Take the biggest, most outrageous example of Fake News in recent memory, Pizzagate. Remember when suckers were spewing back stories about child sex slaves in the basement of a pizza joint! They wanted to believe so much that they actually went along with the obviously fabricated story. How it must of hurt to discover it was Fake News put forth by the Right Wing Media Machine (with the help of Russians). And now the Fake President wants us to believe that the Billy Bush tape was Fake! Will he bring back Birtherism too?! Trump's Greatest Hits never fail to satisfy his suckers!

"Lock her up indeed", it is a travesty that child molesters are running free. Wait....actually they are running free, and running for the Senate!

Anonymous said...

Trump's defense now is not even that he is innocent, but the arcane, Nixonian argument that "When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal."


When the facts are on your side you argue the facts. When the facts are against you then you argue the law. In this case, desperately.

Anonymous said...

Here is everything you need to know about Trump and Fake News. He has praised the reputation of Alex Jones (who claimed Hillary murdered and ate children...and he mean't for real).

Say no more. The Fake President is the undisputed king of Fake News.

Tom McLaughlin said...

I see all the comments from the usual lefty suspects, mostly anonymous, are just whining.

They offer no refutation. They really, really, really don't like the president and they think that's enough.

Brian said...

No refutation of WHAT? You are right, I really don't like narcissistic, bullying, lying assholes, but that is far from enough. Republicans have just sold their souls to a pedophile. Have fun with that!

Anonymous said...

Pretty damn humorous comment from Tom considering he was unable to refute anything in the previous 7 posts!

And considering the fact that his whole column was one long Whinefest!

And considering how he can't get over really, really, really not liking Hillary and Obama!

Cheers to hypocrisy, eh Tom?

Anonymous said...

Watergate was nothing like this....?
I'd say Mr. Obama's National Monument eleventh hour shenanigans, amusing uranium ore deals, astonishing charity antics, and inexplicably stalled-by-bureaucratic-"studies", Prosecutorial discretion/"Comedic-celebrity" activism, makes the last couple of years more of a
Teapot Dome/Tammany Hall/Animal Farm/Atlas Shrugged/ Cat In The Hat And The Bath Tub Ring kinda' thing.
(AIM just isn't happening for me anymore)

Rick said...

"Mr. Obama's National Monument eleventh hour shenanigans"

Huh? Do you mean his signing the Republican Congresses bills? Was is "shenanigans" because Presidents are not supposed to do anything during their last year in office?

The rest off the Capts post is just as goofy, so I'll stop here for now and see if he wants to clarify.

Anonymous said...

G.O.P. = Guardians of Pedophiles

Anonymous said...

President Donald J Trump, best President ever, I love him and will get to enjoy his leadership for the next 7 years.

Brian said...

I can certainly see why that last poster stayed anonymous!

I must admit though, there is a weird little part of me enjoying the big disaster and the ruining of the Republican brand. I have 3 years or less to enjoy the horrific comedy.

Get Real said...

Let me guess, Anon's second favorite president is Nixon.

Brian said...

I loved the Bannon hypocricy yesterday as he mocked the Romneys for using religion to avoid the military, and yet....what about Trump? A secret war hero? No, he is a cowardly little brat who makes fun of real war heroes, and himself hid behind his money and his "bone spurs". Which is MUCH more admirable than using your religion. At least for true closet atheists like Bannon and Trump. It is quiet obvious that $$ and power are what Trump prays to to (while supposed christians like Roy Moore pray to underage girls), but they still have suckered religious voters big time!

Anonymous said...

I think some of you miss the reason why Christians are Christians, it’s not because we are already perfect it’s more the opposite, a realization that we are radically depraved in need of a Savior to be reconciled to God. All have fallen short of the Glory of God and the penalty of sin is death. This is no excuse for heinous sin but when it is said that the Church is full of hypocrites the best answer is YES, but we have room for one more so you should come. Jesus whom needed no Savior because he was perfect, sinless and righteous said “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance”. God ordained both Obama and Trump to lead this Nation, maybe for blessing maybe for punishment. Go Trump, I believe he is a blessing.

Get Real said...

Well then Trump most be the biggest Christian of all, because he certainly is the most radically depraved. And maybe he is a blessing, maybe God is using such a morally bankrupt being to use as a perfect example of how not to behave, and also as a warning sign for us humans to get our #%@^ together and start following some true virtuous leaders. Perhaps he is the storm before our rainbow.

Anonymous said...

From Ministry Matters:

How could people who confess a poor, enemy-loving, radically inclusive, former refugee as Lord and Savior embrace someone so radically anti-Christ in nearly every way as their chosen leader, an unrepentent, thrice-divorced, self-professed sexual predator and gambling mogul with a penchant for pathological lying who ran a campaign of unbridled hate, fear mongering, bigotry, racism…and more lying.

It seems an obvious answer to this is that many people are not really true Christians when it comes to beliefs and following what is in the bible. You've heard of RINOs (Republcans in name only). Well I think this country has millions of CINOs.

Anonymous said...

Steve said...

Mr. McLaughlin, did you read the memo Rod Rosenstein wrote that appoints the Special Counsel and delineats the scope of the investigation? Rosenstein wrote the Special Counsel is to investigate “(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and (iii) any other matters within the scope of 28 C.F.R.” It seems like this is broad enough to include the transition team if that's where the evidence takes them. If the Special Counsel shouldn't be investigating the transition team, is Ty Cobb – Trump's lawyer – doing anything about that, or does he accept the transition team can be lawfully investigated?

Brian said...

That video from the previous link was 30 seconds of pure gold. What do you bet that, continuing in his pattern of being so un-transparent, Trump refuses to release his medical records. Still waiting on the taxes. (“If I decide to run for office, I’ll produce my tax returns, absolutely. And I would love to do that" - LIAR)

And don't forget reversing the Obama decision to make visitor logs to the White House public record. I guess this is to be expected from a Swamp Monster.