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Comey: Come on, impeachment would let America off the hook

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Former FBI director James Comey kicked off his book tour yesterday with a prime-time interview on ABC with George Stephanopoulos that ran two hours. Most of the highlights had either already been leaked by ABC or pre-empted by pre-release excerpts from A Higher Loyalty, but it contained a few surprises — and not all of those positive for Comey, either.

One surprise was in Comey’s warning about impeachment, even after calling Donald Trump “morally unfit to be president.” American voters made their choice, Comey told Stephanopoulos, and it should be left to the American voters to clean up the mess:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: If you are right, what is the remedy? Should Donald Trump be impeached?

JAMES COMEY: Impeachment is– is a question of law and fact and politics. And so that’ll be determined by people gather–

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You’re a citizen. You have a judgment.

JAMES COMEY: Yeah, I’ll tell you, I’ll give you a strange answer. I hope not because I think impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office would let the American people off the hook and have something happen indirectly that I believe they’re duty bound to do directly. People in this country need to stand up and go to the voting booth and vote their values.

We’ll fight about guns. We’ll fight about taxes. We’ll fight about all those other things down the road. But you cannot have, as president of the United States, someone who does not reflect the values that I believe Republicans treasure and Democrats treasure and Independents treasure. That is the core of this country. That’s our foundation. And so impeachment, in a way, would short circuit that.

That doesn’t exactly make Comey a Trump defender. He later argued, toward the end of the interview, that ideas floated a while back to remove Trump as mentally unfit went far wide of the mark. Trump’s mental fitness is fine, Comey tells Stephanopoulos, but it’s his “moral fitness” that’s the problem:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You write that President Trump is unethical, untethered to the truth. Is Donald Trump unfit to be president?

JAMES COMEY: Yes. But not in the way m– I often hear people talk about it. I don’t buy this stuff about him being mentally incompetent or early stages of dementia. He strikes me as a person of above average intelligence who’s tracking conversations and knows what’s going on. I don’t think he’s medically unfit to be president. I think he’s morally unfit to be president.

A person who sees moral equivalence in Charlottesville, who talks about and treats women like they’re pieces of meat, who lies constantly about matters big and small and insists the American people believe it, that person’s not fit to be president of the United States, on moral grounds. And that’s not a policy statement. Again, I don’t care what your views are on guns or immigration or taxes.

There’s something more important than that that should unite all of us, and that is our president must embody respect and adhere to the values that are at the core of this country. The most important being truth. This president is not able to do that. He is morally unfit to be president.

Interestingly, Stephanopoulos doesn’t ask Comey to comment on Hillary Clinton’s moral fitness for office, but perhaps we’ll save the Hillary parts of the interview for another post. Comey comes across pretty well for most of the interview, but at times undermined his gravitas with observations better left for late-night comics. When Stephanopoulos asks him about meeting Trump for the first time, Comey joins the 4-H Club — hair, height, hue, and hands:

JAMES COMEY: My impression was he looked exactly like he did on television, except he looked shorter to me than he did on television, but otherwise exactly the same. And the reason I say that is most people look slightly different in person. I don’t know whether that’s bad or good, but he looked the way I’d seen him look on television.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Which was?

JAMES COMEY: He had– impressively coifed hair, it looks to be all his. I confess, I stared at it pretty closely and my reaction was, “It most take a heck of a lot of time in the morning, but it’s impressively coifed.” He looked– his tie was too long, as it always is. He looked slightly orange up close with small white—half moons under his eyes, which I assume are from tanning googles. And otherwise looked as I had expected him to look from tele– as I thought he looked on television.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You even clocked the size of his hands?

JAMES COMEY: Yeah. I– I say that in my book ’cause I’m trying to be honest, ’cause that’s the truth there had been all this controversy and mocking about hand size, I can’t remember the details. But as I shook his hand I made a note to check the size and it seemed like he had average-sized hands.

The Hill’s Niall Stanage was unimpressed with those choices, although Stanage believes the overall effect of Comey’s interview will be a wash:

Given how Comey holds himself out as a paragon of ethical leadership — his book is titled “A Higher Loyalty” — it seemed incongruous to hear him mock Trump’s hairstyle and facial coloring.

Comey repeated the detail, included in the book, that he assumes Trump has small white circles beneath his eyes because of the use of tanning goggles. Of the famous Trump hairstyle, he told Stephanopoulos that “it looks to be all his” and added wryly that “it must take a heck of a lot of time in the morning.” …

Comey’s assertion that it is “possible” that Trump is compromised by Russia will also likely draw some hot comment in the next 24 hours.

He provided no specific evidence to back up that claim. Critics will contend that a former FBI director should not make such an incendiary charge without providing his basis for doing so.

And critics would be correct to do so, but both sides have made this personal for almost a year. Firing Comey was probably a mistake in the first place, and the president made Comey into a personal punching bag long before this. It’s a little unfair not to note that context when criticizing Comey’s public pushback, but Stanage is correct that this is a little “incongruous” to have someone lecturing on higher ethics while making cracks about orange skin and hand size.

Having read through the transcript and watched some of the reaction, the interview leaves the same impression that Comey’s book transcripts have. He has an interesting perspective on events, and the animus between Trump and Comey will make the latter a very popular figure on the talk-show tour. (Comey will be on Jake Tapper’s show live on Thursday afternoon, rather than in a pretape, by the way.) Nothing in this interview changes much politically for Trump, and may not for Comey either. It certainly won’t change anyone’s minds on impeachment, on either side of the aisle.

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The robot dog that will murder you will also dance on your grave

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To cleanse the palate, obviously I don’t know if there’ll be “graves” as such after the robot apocalypse. I assume it’ll depend on their olfactory capabilities. If they’re not equipped to detect scent, maybe the ‘bots will just leave us where we lie to decay in the sun, our streets transformed into rivers of putrefied viscera from the sheer mass of leaking carcasses.

It’s my great privilege to share thoughts like that with you at the end of a long day.

I’m curious about what possessed Boston Dynamics to put this clip together. Could be nothing more than boredom or a creative way to show off Spot’s motor skills. But I wonder if all the freaky-deaky videos of humanoid robots demonstrating ever more impressive feats of mobility has created a strange sort of PR problem for them. They don’t want every promo they do to seem menacing, however inadvertently. Soon they’ll have people breaking into their factory, trying to stop them before they build the first T-800. Time to do something whimsical instead.

This thing is set to go on sale next year, by the way. Not to everyday consumers; the price tag will likely ensure that it remains a corporate plaything. But you’ll be seeing them around sooner than you think. Plus, some ultra-rich tech bros are destined to buy them and show them off as look-what-I-got novelties. We all know who the first one will be.

Weird but true: In a few decades’ time, this thing shaking its ass in your face as it does a victory twerk might be the last thing you ever see.

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WOW! Claire McCaskill Speaks Out After Project Veritas Reveals She’s a Complete Fraud — Lies and Blames Hawley (VIDEO)

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James O’Keefe strikes again!

On Monday evening, Project Veritas released an undercover video of endangered Missouri Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill admitting to being deceptive about her stance on firearms and immigration policies.

McCaskill is a red-state Democrat Senator so she has to appear pro 2nd Amendment to her constituents because Missourians love their guns.

Claire McCaskill’s staffers were also caught on video saying she puts on a moderate front to get the Republican votes.

The top staffer then continued saying McCaskill believes everything Obama does.

THIS WAS A DEVASTATING VIDEO! Claire McCaskill was COMPLETELY EXPOSED!

Senator McCaskill’s staffers admitted she is pro-DACA, pro-DREAMERS and against the border wall even though she runs ads to the contrary claiming she is strong on border security.
The Project Veritas Video has been viewed over 267,000 times so far!

On Tuesday morning Claire McCaskill responded to the stunning revelations.
McCaskill went on Ozarks First to try to dig herself out of this deep hole.


Claire lied some more, blamed Josh Hawley for the undercover video.

Senator McCaskill: I’ve been very up front about all my positions. I remember this person was trying to get me to say something different than what my positions are… It is startling that Josh Hawley would be part of fraudulently embedding something in my campaign.

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Coincidence or corruption? In Andrew Cuomo’s government it’s hard to tell

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Given the parade of people in the orbit of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who have recently either been shipped off to jail or come under investigation, it’s amazing that none of the dirt ever sticks to Cuomo himself. How does he account for the various people who funneled money toward his campaign, and then were later discovered to have benefitted from state government “generosity” and wound up in handcuffs? It’s all just a coincidence.

Today we’re hearing news of yet another of these amazing coincidences. This story starts with a situation we first covered more than a year ago and it dealt with some donors who helped Cuomo out during his 2014 campaign. A medical corporation named Crystal Run Healthcare was run by a few people who had funneled more than $400K to Cuomo’s campaigns over the previous four years. When the “Buffalo Billion” was announced (a plan to invest a billion dollars of taxpayer money into projects creating jobs in the western, upstate region) Crytal Run was at the front of the line. They wound up receiving more than $25M dollars for two new medical centers.

But there were some fishy elements to the story. First of all, they had actually broken ground on both of those new projects six months before the grants were even announced or applications were being taken. It’s almost as if they knew they had the money coming from somewhere. Then we found out that the Crystal Run had coughed up a flurry of maximum donations only weeks before the checks to them were cut. In addition to that, there was a meeting held less than two weeks after the announcement of the grants where Crystal Run executives met with state officials, including a top aide from inside Cuomo’s office.

How did Cuomo explain it? It was all just a happy coincidence and the meeting didn’t matter because they didn’t even talk about the grants. The meeting was about Medicaid.

But now the local press has gotten hold of emails from Crystal Run showing that they did indeed discuss their two new developments and the grants, and that the state representatives at the meeting were “very receptive” to their requests. (NY Post)

Now, despite earlier denials from everyone involved, it turns out company execs got a private sitdown with top state officials in 2015, just 12 days after Albany started seeking applications for $1.2 billion in development grants. Crystal Run wound up with $25.4 million of that (the only for-profit company to qualify) for two projects.

Team Cuomo insists those projects never even got mentioned at the meeting, saying it was only about Medicaid. Yet the Albany Times Union reports that an e-mail sent two weeks later by Crystal Run’s chief legal officer stressed that company execs had “shared our vision for growth,” including the two “expansions,” with the health commissioner and a top aide who worked in Cuomo’s office.

Both officials, the e-mail noted, “were, obviously, supportive, as we are bringing real jobs to real people” — and had agreed that “further discussion was warranted” with the state economic-development agency “at the highest levels.”

How much more evidence do we need at this point? Cuomo’s spokespeople obviously lied about what went on at that meeting. They have records from the company who benefitted from it after making massive contributions. (Two of the people involved in organizing these meetings, donations, and windfalls have already been convicted or indicted on related charges.) And yet Andrew Cuomo continues to insist that all the grants were handled fairly and above board. These are all just amazing coincidences. And somehow, while his closest aides head off to the crowbar motel, Cuomo floats along and prosecutors can’t seem to lay a glove on him. On top of that, he’s on track to cruise to electoral victory for another four years in office.

I guess that’s just a happy coincidence too, eh?

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