On today's BradCast, it's great to be back live at our flagship Los Angeles affiliate station, KPFK on the Pacifica Radio Network in Los Angeles after their recent fund drive. So we throw open the phones to listeners in celebration after several insanely busy news weeks! [Audio link to show is posted below.]
But, first, former FBI Director James Comey released his prepared statement [PDF] in advance of his much-anticipated testimony on Thursday before the U.S. Senate Intelligence committee. In the remarks, Comey details a number of his one-on-one meetings with and phone calls from Donald Trump, including the infamous "loyalty dinner" at the White House in late January and the similarly-infamous early-February meeting in the Oval Office, the day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign, where Comey charges that he was asked by the President to end the FBI's investigation of Flynn.
We review the details of that prepared testimony, including Comey's confirmation that he did, in fact, indicate to Trump on three different occasions that he was not personally being investigated by the Bureau at the time. Trump's personal attorney cites that testimony to claim the President is "completely and totally vindicated" by it. Others, however, regard the testimony as "explosive" and as confirmation that Trump attempted to obstruct justice.
Also today, more on the leaked NSA analysis charging that Russian intelligence attempted to access the computers of election officials around the country after successfully sending spear-phishing emails to employees at a private voter registration firm. That rather rudimentary hacking effort just before last year's election, no matter who did it (as explained in much more detail on yesterday's show), may have allowed access for the intruders to the computers that program voting machines, results tabulators and voter registration systems around the country. Also, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's offers a response to the arrest of the alleged leaker, Reality Leigh Winner, and the charges filed against her under the 1917 Espionage Act.
Then, as just-retired Dir. of National Intelligence James Clapper charges "Watergate pales...compared to what we're confronting now," we take calls on all of the above and whether listeners believe Democrats should begin impeachment proceedings against Trump (as The Nation's John Nichols argued earlier this week on the show) or at least promise such proceedings if they are elected to the majority in Congress in 2018. We received some rather surprising answers to that question from callers, as well as in regard to the charges filed against Winner!
Finally, we're joined by Desi Doyen with the latest Green News Report on the swift and global fallout following Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the historic Paris Climate Agreement...
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As confirmed by today's testimony, the critical language with respect to Comey's refusal to publicly state back in March and April that the President was not, then, being investigated is:
I did not tell the President that the FBI and the Department of Justice had been reluctant to make public statements that we did not have an open case on President Trump for a number of reasons, most importantly because it would create a duty to correct, should that change.
The fact that the President was not the target of an investigation while Comey was serving as Director does not mean that he could never become the target of the investigation.
Typically, investigations of an organization (e.g. Nixon White House, Trump campaign) begin at the periphery and, if the facts warrant, work their way to the center.
There's a vast difference between the statement that Trump was not then under investigation and the effort by Trump's lawyer to suggest Trump has been exonerated by the investigation.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink] ...
said on 6/8/2017 @ 4:51 pm PT...
Reality Leigh Winner has been charged under the 1917 Espionage Act for releasing a document that reports Russian espionage against the U.S. — which, since the Russians had done it, was information already fully known to the Russians; the only party from whom the full extent of their activity was concealed was the American public.
How then did this release constitute “espionage” in aid of Russia... oh... it didn’t... the crime was that it constituted “espionage” in aid of informing the American public how their election had been stolen. And that was unforgivable.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink] ...
said on 6/8/2017 @ 5:10 pm PT...
Ernest @1: “... the statement that Trump was not then under investigation...” — after the italicized “then”, one might also add an italicized “personally”, as Comey made that specification — because the Trump campaign was indeed already under investigation at that point, and how can the head of any organization avoid being associated with it? Any such head must come under the investigators’ lenses, not “personally”, but as a matter of his responsibility for the organization he leads.