Monday, October 31, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Fighting Comeyism


Too late to get your James Comey mask, but he's the scariest character this Halloween.  The White House pointedly refused to defend his actions, especially invoking the Justice Department guidelines that even GOPers as partisan as Karl Rove say should have been followed.

Harry Reid threw gas on the fire with his letter apprising Comey of the possibility that he committed a criminal act.  And he added a charge that is throwing attention back at Trump: "in my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government.”

Reid's statement seemed born out by two stories that broke Monday, described at TPM:  One of these stories is about suspicious communication between a Trump controlled email server and Russia. The second story is much more specific in its accusation. According to David Corn, who is an experienced national security and intelligence reporter, a retired spy from a western country who now works for an American security contractor has provided the FBI with evidence suggesting that "the Russian government has for years tried to co-opt and assist Trump." Corn further reports that this retired spy found "troubling information indicating connections between Trump and the Russian government. According to his sources, he says, 'there was an established exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin of mutual benefit.'"

Another story making the rounds Monday is that Comey refused to join the intelligence agencies naming of Russia as responsible for email hacking for the purpose of influencing the election--not because he didn't have evidence but because it was too political during the campaign???

Responding to this story, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook called out Comey for employing a "blatant double standard:" "That Director Comey would show more discretion in a matter concerning a foreign state action than one involving the Democratic nominee for president is nothing short of jaw-dropping."

Meanwhile, early evidence is that swing state Dem voters aren't losing their nerve and while there are some wild swings among independents/undecideds in tracking polls, it's the margin rather than the outcome that so far may be affected.

Politico finds little evidence so far that the Comey affair is changing votes, and John Cassidy at the New Yorker has an overview that suggests the Comey effect seems likely to be minimal.  The New York Times adds:

And while Mr. Trump has crowed about the 11th-hour twist to the race, the F.B.I. director’s letter about the emails has not yet produced a major shift in private polling, according to Republican and Democratic strategists with access to confidential data, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Mrs. Clinton’s lead over Mr. Trump appears to have contracted modestly, but not enough to threaten her advantage over all or to make the electoral math less forbidding for Mr. Trump, Republicans and Democrats said.

Perhaps once promising red states like Georgia, Texas and Utah are gone, and Ohio and Iowa are more challenging, but a Clinton electoral college blowout is still the most likely outcome.  Similarly, the longshot of a House majority is likely gone and the Senate majority is up in the air.

The Clinton campaign senses that it's time to scare people about the Donald again, and well they should.  Honesty?  What about those tax returns?  Whose are out there and whose aren't?  The NYTimes speculates a bit more on Trump's dishonesty in tax matters.  The aforementioned Politico piece suggests that Trump's involvement with Russia might be revealed by those tax returns.

Daily Beast noted that the Times story plus two about investigations into the Trump Russian connections blunted the momentum of the email story:So this is what Trump wakes up to Tuesday. An allegation that Comey was covering for him. An allegation that the FBI is poking around his former campaign manager’s Russia relationships. And most damning of all, a specific allegation of exactly how he cheated the government he purports to want to run of hundreds of millions of dollars, through a technique that he seems to have used more brazenly than anyone.

And as Raw Story notes: Author Salman Rushdie reminded voters that Trump will stand trial later this month in a racketeering lawsuit and then again next month as part of a lawsuit filed by a woman who claims the Republican presidential nominee raped her when she was 13 years old.

And that's just for starters: Trump University will go to trial with possible criminal charges and there's a real investigation into possible criminal activity Trump's foundation.  All of this will play out after the election.

There's still plenty scary about the Donald.  Not the least of it is the bullying and threats to the election process that are part of his every speech, and part of actions by his supporters.  The PA Democratic Party is the latest to go to court complaining that the Trump campaign is trying to intimidate urban voters. Similar suits were filed in Ohio, Arizona and Nevada. There's still the Hitler aura around Trump.

Not to mention the continuing hatred that infects the Republican party, and the careless violence invoked every day, most recently by North Carolina R Senator Richard Burr and his "joke" advocating Hillary Clinton's photo as a bull's eye on a gun magazine cover.

Raw Story continued: “He [Trump] is a sexual predator, hasn’t released his tax returns, and has used his foundation’s money to pay his legal fees,” Rushdie posted Sunday on his Facebook page. “He has abused the family of a war hero and … oh, but let’s talk about some emails Hillary didn’t send from someone else’s computer, that weren’t a crime anyway, because that’s how to choose a president. Come on, America. Focus.”

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