Monday, October 31, 2016


The FBI has had these emails for weeks
FBI agents knew of Clinton-related emails weeks before director was briefed
"I'm sure you're getting a million takes on the Comey/email situation from former AUSAs, but here is what I think is going on (healthy doses of speculation here informed by my experience as a former federal public corruption prosecutor in high profile cases):  

1. Agents investigating Weiner saw evidence of State Department related emails on Weiner's laptop. This is a totally separate team of agents from the team that investigated the State Department emails. They thus have no idea whether these have already been reviewed or not. And they can't lawfully look at them without a search warrant or (this is key) consent of the owner of the emails. . . .  

2. The issue goes up the chain. Comey and his team decide they better get a look at these or they will be accused one day of a failure to follow a lead (they frankly should have had these long before). But they don't know what's on the emails, so they have no way of assessing whether they're relevant or not. They need a warrant, or consent, or a subpoena.  

3. This is where I might be ready to give a slightly charitable explanation to Comey. He thinks if they seek a search warrant, it will leak. And that's probably a reasonable possibility given many GOP-friendly agents and lots of leakers apparently at HQ. In Comey's mind, headlines would be everywhere stating "FBI Seeks Search Warrant for New Clinton Emails" and the cable news folks would be in full hyperventilation mode. The FBI, his beloved institution, would then be subject to unrelenting attack for interfering in the election. So he decides he better preempt this by sending out a vague and, in his view, innocuous letter to the Hill. He thought he was in a no-win situation. One of his own making (he should have never commented on this case publicly at all), but still, a no-win. Chaffetz then distorts it and the uncritical mainstream news outlets desperate for a real horse race go berserk with hysteria and uninformed speculation. . . .

I think back to investigations of members of Congress that I handled and cannot fathom having my FBI agents make public comments about reviewing potential new evidence in real time less than two weeks before an election. It's just insane. Career destroying, Democracy distorting, insanity.  At this point, I think he has to say the following: (1) we have not seen any new evidence that changes our prior conclusion; (2) we do not know whether the new email collection involves any emails that were not previously reviewed in reaching our prior conclusion; and (3) we will refer all further questions on this matter to the DOJ."
Still more troubling is the information contained in this just released article in The Wall Street Journal by Devlin Barrett. It describes what the article describes as a feud within the FBI and between the FBI and the Department of Justice over the Clinton probe. It now seems clear that what are essentially rogue FBI agents have been looking for all sorts of different angles to pursue investigations of Hillary Clinton and her family. Indeed, they've presented their evidence to career public corruption prosecutors at DOJ and been told they don't have anything. But it hasn't stopped. They clearly were not happy with the decision in the emails probe even though Comey said not even a close call. This seems to be the backstory of what happened on Friday. Agents pushing for more aggressive investigations on various fronts, Comey fearing he'd be blamed after the fact for not notifying Congress in the letter he sent and specifically being afraid that some of these agents would leak news of the possibly new Huma Abedin emails to Congress. These are not fun situations to be in, I am sure. But they are ones an FBI Director should, indeed must, be willing to stand up to. . . 

Did Comey violate the law?

Eichenwald: James Comey's Letter Could Damage The Reputation Of The FBI For Years To Come

Even right wingers are saying this is effed up and unfair

The FBI has their warrant now -- get to work!

A LOT of work:
Weiner’s Laptop May Include 650K Emails 

Jason Chaffetz's role
There is a lot of speculation that he had heads up on the Comey revelation. He tweeted it out before his Democratic colleagues had gotten the letter. He seemed to know that something was coming. He actually reversed his Trump endorsement the day before. What was his role? Was he leaked some of this new information . . .

How one Congressman punked the media on the FBI letter about Clinton’s emails

How the media has made things worse

This won't happen, but I like that people are talking about it
On the heels of FBI Director James Comey’s decision to reveal a new investigation of emails connected to Hillary Clinton’s server just over a week before the presidential election, top Democrats are demanding that he level the playing field and disclose what the FBI knows about Republican nominee Donald Trump’s possible ties to the Russian government. . . 

A great ad: This Time It's Different

Trumpy still wants to talk about . . . waterboarding

Trumpy's war against the media
“These people are among the most dishonest in the world – the media,” Trump said to a roaring crowd. “They are the worst. They’re trying to fix the election for crooked Hillary.”

Reporters covering a Donald Trump rally in Arizona Saturday were baited by a man who shouted an anti-Semitic chant and told them: "You're going down!" The man, wearing a "Hillary for prison" t-shirt, repeatedly yelled "Jew-S-A!" at journalists . . . "We know who you are! You're the enemy!" he shouted at reporters and media workers who were in their designated press area. 

Trumpy's phony promises to donate to charity -- read this!

The fourth-grade candidate

This is the weirdest campaign ever
In private, Donald Trump admits “if we don’t” win, “that’s okay, too”
Trump: Campaign ‘will be the greatest waste of time, money and energy’ if I lose

[NB: I still can't really decide if, his outsized ego and competitiveness aside, Trumpy actually wants to be president, or whether this whole campaign has just been an extended exercise in vanity.]

Great story about how Trumpy got tricked into picking a different VP besides Christie, who he wanted


KellyAnne Conway admits that some Trump supporters are indeed "deplorable" -- but, boy she sure doesn't want to talk about them

Some types of bigotry are apparently more reprehensible than others

Bonus item: A new voice -- Hasan Minhaj

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL:

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Sunday, October 30, 2016


A follow-up statement from the FBI Director
To all:  

This morning I sent a letter to Congress in connection with the Secretary Clinton email investigation. Yesterday, the investigative team briefed me on their recommendation with respect to seeking access to emails that have recently been found in an unrelated case. Because those emails appear to be pertinent to our investigation, I agreed that we should take appropriate steps to obtain and review them.

Of course, we don’t ordinarily tell Congress about ongoing investigations, but here I feel an obligation to do so given that I testified repeatedly in recent months that our investigation was completed. I also think it would be misleading to the American people were we not to supplement the record. At the same time, however, given that we don’t know the significance of this newly discovered collection of emails, I don’t want to create a misleading impression. In trying to strike that balance, in a brief letter and in the middle of an election season, there is significant risk of being misunderstood, but I wanted you to hear directly from me about it.  

Jim Comey

What we know now:

What we need to know:

Report: the Attorney General asked Comey not to make any public statement
FBI Director James Comey broke with Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Justice Department policy to send a letter to lawmakers regarding emails "pertinent" to his agency's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private server, according to a report published Saturday. An unnamed former senior Justice Department official told New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer that Lynch asked Comey to follow Justice Department policy of not commenting on investigations or taking steps which could have an effect on the outcome of an election.  The FBI director refused, according to the official, and said that he had promised to inform members of Congress of any further developments regarding the probe. . .


Podesta trashes Comey:
"The more information that comes out, the more overblown this all seems and the more concern it creates about Director Comey's actions," Podesta said. He slammed Comey for providing "selective information," citing House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz's (R-UT) promise to mire Clinton in “years” of investigations into her record if she wins the presidency.  Podesta went on to describe Comey's letter as "long on innuendo and short on facts." "It's now up to him, who owes the public answers to the questions that are now on the table, and we're calling on him to come forward and give those answers to the American public," Podesta said.
Why FBI Director James Comey did the wrong thing ... again
James Comey’s unavoidably horrible decision
Comey's Judgment Looks Far Worse on Day Two 

I find it hard to join the "trash Comey" crowd -- Republican or not, I've admired him ever since his electrifying Ashcroft testimony in 2007. Once the new emails came to light, he was in an impossible position: revealing them or not revealing them would open him up to criticism. But I do think that once they were revealed he had an obligation to clarify that there is NO EVIDENCE at this stage that these emails raise any new issues for Clinton. None
FBI Director James Comey’s decision “is a striking break with the policies of the Department of Justice, according to current and former federal legal officials. Comey, who is a Republican appointee of President Obama, has a reputation for integrity and independence, but his latest action is stirring an extraordinary level of concern among legal authorities, who see it as potentially affecting the outcome of the Presidential and congressional elections,” the New Yorker reports. Said one former Justice Department official: “You don’t do this. It’s aberrational. It violates decades of practice.”

Remember 2007:

What Huma Abedin did (as far as we know right now)
This new evidence relates to how Abedin managed her emails. She maintained four email accounts—an unclassified State Department account, another on the domain and a third on Yahoo. The fourth was linked to her husband’s account; she used it to support his activities when he was running for Congress, investigative records show. Abedin, who did not know Clinton used a private server for her emails, told the bureau in an April interview that she used the account on the domain only for issues related to the Secretary’s personal affairs, such as communicating with her friends. For work-related records, Abedin primarily used the email account provided to her by the State Department.

Because Clinton preferred to read documents on paper rather than on a screen, emails and other files were often printed out and provided to her either at her office or home, where they were delivered in a diplomatic pouch by a security agent. Abedin, like many State Department officials, found the government network technology to be cumbersome, and she had great trouble printing documents there, investigative records show. As a result, she sometimes transferred emails from her unclassified State Department account to either her Yahoo account or her account on Clinton’s server, and printed the emails from there. It is not clear whether she ever transferred official emails to the account she used for her husband’s campaign.

Abedin would use this procedure for printing documents when she received emails she believed Clinton needed to see and when the Secretary forwarded emails to her for printing. Abedin told the FBI she would often print these emails without reading them. Abedin printed a large number of emails this way, in part because, investigative records show, other staff members considered her Clinton’s “gatekeeper” and often sent Abedin electronic communications they wanted the Secretary to see.  

This procedure for printing documents, the government official says, appears to be how the newly discovered emails ended up on the laptop shared by Abedin and her husband. It is unclear whether any of those documents were downloaded onto the laptop off of her personal email accounts or were saved on an external storage device, such as a flash drive, and then transferred to the shared computer. There is also evidence that the laptop was used to send emails from Abedin to Clinton; however, none of those emails are the ones being examined by the FBI. Moreover, unless she was told by Abedin in every instance, Clinton could not have known what device her aide was using to transmit electronic information to her.  

If the FBI determines that any of the documents that ended up on the shared device were classified, Abedin could be deemed to have mishandled them. In order to prove that was a criminal offense, however, investigators would have to establish that Abedin had intended to disclose the contents of those classified documents, or that she knew she was mishandling that information.  

If the documents were not classified, no crime was committed. But either way, this discovery has embarrassed Clinton, even though there is no evidence at this point suggesting she has been implicated in any potential wrongdoing.

With 10 days to go before Election Day, we are FUBARed. Have you heard? There are some emails. They are pertinent to something or other. But nobody has actually read them, so, actually, maybe they aren't. . .  [read on!]

What's next for Trump?
Trump Advisers Plan Their Next Steps 


Trumpy goes full Breitbart -- and I think this is good news. By hugely overreaching in his psychotic conspiracy theories, Trumpy distracts from what is potentially problematic about this whole situation. By playing to his "hate Hillary" base, who is sure she is a criminal and "worse that Watergate," the "lock her up" theme seems less effective at pulling over those who may have been leaning toward her but are having doubts now. It may even engender some sympathy for her, as questions pile up about whether this investigation should even have been announced in the final days of a campaign
“As you have heard, it was just announced yesterday that the FBI is reopening their investigation in the criminal and illegal conduct of Hillary Clinton,” Trump said about 10 minutes into the rally. He then walked away from his podium and applauded the news along with his crowd, which began chanting: “Lock her up! Lock her up!” . . .

“This is the biggest political scandal since Watergate [NB: Often he says "worse than Watergate"], and it’s everybody’s deepest hope that justice, at last, can be properly delivered,” Trump said to more cheers.  . . . 

“Her criminal action was willful, deliberate, intentional and purposeful,” he continued. “Hillary set up an illegal server for the obvious purpose of shielding her criminal conduct from public disclosure and exposure,” he said, “knowing full well that her actions put our national security at risk.” . . .

Trump said that he thinks that some of the thousands of emails that Clinton deleted “were captured yesterday,” even though officials do not yet know what is in the emails. He also suggested, with no evidence, that there was “a revolt” in the FBI that led to the letter being sent on Friday.  “I’ll bet you, without any knowledge, there was a revolt in the FBI,” Trump said. “I’ll bet you there was a revolt in the FBI by what they allowed to happen with respect to Hillary Clinton. There was a revolt. And I can be pretty sure of it.”
"Hillary Clinton's corruption is on a scale we have never seen before. We must never let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office," Trump said, reading from prepared remarks. . . .

FBI Director James Comey Knew The Risks With His Clinton Letter. Trump Just Showed Them. [read on]
Republicans including Chafftez eagerly tweeted out Comey’s news Friday, and Trump supporters (and some media outlets) ran with the erroneous claim that the FBI had “reopened” its Clinton email probe (it never closed it) and that the agency is revisiting its decision not to prosecute Clinton over her email server (there’s exactly zero evidence of that). And since Republicans have openly signaled that they plan “years of investigations” of Clinton should she win on November 8th, it’s not hard to see where this is going. They’re hoping this new “revelation” sinks Clinton, but expecting to use the faux scandal to drag her down over the next four years. This follows a pattern that dates back to the Bill Clinton administration . . .

What's next for Clinton?
Clinton Will Try to Put Focus Back on Trump  

There are a few key questions that need firm answers, questions to which we’ve all read all kinds of answers, depending on who was doing the leaking. . . .

The Dems demand answers from Comey
Stressing their concern that Comey’s investigation was already being misused for political purposes, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), as well as the top two Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee ― Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) ― asked both Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch to provide “more detailed information about the investigative steps that are being taken, the number of emails involved, and what is being done to determine how many of the emails are duplicative of those already reviewed by the FBI.”  

One question about the emails is how quickly you can do a review if there are indeed "thousands." Here's the technical lowdown -- the answer is, surprisingly quickly

By the way, do you remember that the Bush-Cheney admin also used a private server, and "lost" 22 million emails? 

I hope this doesn't shock you
Trump Pledged Far More to Charity Than He Ever Gave

From Robert Reich (thanks to AG for the link)
Yesterday I spoke with a former Republican member of Congress whom I’ve known for years.  
Me: What do you think of your party’s nominee for president?  
He: Trump is a maniac. He’s a clear and present danger to America.  
Me: Have you said publicly that you won’t vote for him?  
He (sheepishly): No.  
Me: Why not?  
He: I’m a coward.  
Me: What do you mean?  
He: I live in a state with a lot of Trump voters. Most Republican officials do.  
Me: But you’re a former official. You're not running for Congress again. What are you afraid of?
He: I hate to admit it, but I’m afraid of them. Some of those Trumpistas are out of their fu*king minds.
Me: You mean you’re afraid for your own physical safety?  
He: All it takes is one of them, you know.  
Me: Wait a minute. Isn’t this how dictators and fascists have come to power in other nations? Respected leaders don’t dare take a stand.
He: At least I’m no Giuliani or Gingrich or Pence. I’m not a Trump enabler.  
Me: I’ll give you that.  
He: Let me tell you something. Most current and former Republican members of Congress are exactly like me. I talk with them. They think Trump is deplorable. And they think Giuliani and Gingrich are almost as bad. But they’re not gonna speak out. Some don’t want to end their political careers. Most don’t want to risk their lives. The Trump crowd is just too dangerous. Trump has whipped them up into a g*ddamn frenzy.

The precarious future of the GOP
Donald Trump’s path of destruction has pushed the Republican Party to the cusp of a historic reckoning, an existential crisis that has left half of America’s political establishment in desperate need of new leaders, a new message, and even a common orthodoxy.  Party members say it is almost impossible to underestimate the challenges facing the 162-year-old GOP, which for the last three decades has been largely defined by a hagiographic vision of Ronald Reagan but is now riven by a civil war with multiple dimensions. . . . [read on]

“It’s like Humpty Dumpty fell and broke, then a giant lawn mower ran over it, acid was thrown on the pieces — and a bunch of racist idiots ran off with an arm and a leg. How do you put it back together? I don’t know.”  
        — GOP strategist John Weaver

Bonus item: The first major party female candidate in history -- and a central theme in the campaign has been the grotesque sexual misbehavior of three men: Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, and Anthony Weiner. How the hell did this happen?

Throughout the past three decades Donald Trump has played a coy game of public and private vacillation between playboy and serious husband.

***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL:

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***

Saturday, October 29, 2016


More on Trumpy's phony $100 million pledge
TPM found at least six times Trump has projected spending $100 million of his own money on the campaign over the course of the past month

It gets worse, the $31,000 he has contributed this month are in-kind contributions, not even real cash
And Donald Trump is doing this at a point where he had promised to “triple match” contributions by his supporters. . . .

[NB: Here's what this tells you -- whatever his bravado in public comments, he knows he is going to lose and won't throw good money after bad. At every turn he has tried to run this campaign on the cheap, primarily using "other people's money." He's never, ever approached it like someone determined to spend the money necessary to win.] 

Update: Trump does add $10 million more -- which is not $100 million 

Meanwhile, Trump is still MAKING money from the campaign 

BREAKING NEWS: New emails found, the FBI says they MAY BE pertinent to the Clinton investigation or "they may not even be significant." They just don't know, and there are thousands of them. They are not "re-opening the investigation," as you might have heard -- but there is no way they can review them all before the election. Now what?
There’s a lot we don’t know yet. But, citing anonymous sources, multiple news outlets have reported these emails are from “a device” belonging to Clinton aide Huma Abedin and her husband Anthony Weiner and were discovered via an unrelated investigation.  Of course, the new line of investigation does not mean that Clinton broke the law necessarily. With less than two weeks until the election, Comey’s letter to Congress will lead to ferocious new partisan attacks over her private server. (Donald Trump’s already doing so.) We have no more proof that Clinton broke the law today than we did yesterday. All we know that Comey has new records he thinks are worthy of further investigation. [read on]
FBI Director James Comey just angered everyone in the country by sending a letter to key Republican committee members in Congress:  

1) eleven days before Election Day 
2) that implies that Hillary Clinton may have committed a criminal act 
3) that doesn’t provide any details 
4) that makes no commitment to shed any further light on the issue before the voting is over
Since the freak-out began, we’ve learned the following about the emails in question:  

1. They were not from Hillary 
2. They were not from her private server 
3. They were not from her investigation 
4. They were not withheld from the FBI by Clinton 
5. They were found on a computer seized during an investigation of former Rep. Anthony Weiner
A senior law enforcement official said that tens of thousands of emails belonging to Ms. Abedin were on Mr. Weiner’s laptop . . . Mr. Comey said in his letter to Congress that he did not know how long it would take to review the emails. Law enforcement officials said they did not know whether any were duplicates of emails discovered in the earlier investigation.
"Officials familiar with the inquiry said it was too early to assess the significance of the newly discovered emails. It is possible, they said, that some or all of the correspondence is duplicative of the emails that were already turned over and examined by the FBI."

This suggests that FBI investigators know no more than that there are emails between Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton on one of the computers Abedin shared with her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. Given their relationship that is hardly surprising.  The fact it is possible that all of the new emails may be copies of the ones already reviewed in the original investigation strongly suggests that they know nothing more than that there are emails between the two women. . . .
The obvious problem here is one of timing. The odds of any FBI investigation, much less one of this potential gravity, being completed by November 8 is limited. Assuming the FBI prevents leaks of the content of the new evidence or its nature, and Comey refuses public comment, that means the import of this development is one of those things that will almost entirely depend on partisan optics. Democrats tend to think the whole email saga is a huge nothing-burger no matter what Clinton might have done to evade responsibility for it, and they’re not going to change their minds about that just because another email has been thrown into the hopper. On the other hand, a previously sinking Trump campaign that has already loudly and repeatedly and redundantly asserted that Clinton is a criminal if not a traitor will obviously fan every suspicion available to keep open the door we thought the FBI had definitively closed.  There is no obvious precedent for anything quite like this on the eve of a presidential election.  . . . Donald Trump’s immediate reaction was not a very good sign this development will be received calmly. Addressing supporters in New Hampshire Friday, he hailed the FBI’s announcement — saying he had “great respect” for the agency’s decision to “right the horrible mistake that they made.”  “Perhaps, finally, justice will be done,” he said, as the crowd pumped fists and cheered. “Lock her up! Lock her up!”
I would recommend everyone look at what Director Comey actually said. It's far more couched and limited than the way it's currently playing in the politics and news world. The letter says investigators "learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation. I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their important to the investigation."
Comey: "They may not even be significant"
Reminding us that “Upon completing this investigation more than three months ago, FBI Director Comey declared no reasonable prosecutor would move forward with a case like this and added that it was not even a close call,” the Clinton campaign has responded to FBI Director James Comey’s letter to congressional Republicans saying that the FBI is looking at newly uncovered emails to see if they are pertinent to that previously completed investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails. Campaign chair John Podesta’s statement calls on Comey to “immediately provide the American public more information”  . . . [read on]


Clinton calls for a full release of all information now -- is that what a guilty person says? 

Emailgate Just Gets Stupider and Stupider
The emails were not to or from Clinton, and contained information that appeared to be more of what agents had already uncovered, the official said, but in an abundance of caution, they felt they needed to further scrutinize them.
Trumpy, who utterly trashed the FBI when they cleared Clinton the first time, now is a great supporter of the FBI's independence and integrity 

Bill Maher: can we laugh about this? (NSFW) 

New video of Trumpy with a former Miss Universe. Watch it for yourself -- it captures everything about his dominance moves, his petty need for payback, his "ha ha, I'm joking" approach to insulting and abusing others 

What a guy:
Trump on his Twitter insults: 'It's OK, most of them deserved it'

Surrounded by white people, Trump promises his "new deal for black America"
Donald Trump says he wants to clean up the “ghettos” 

The strangest part of Trump’s ‘new deal for black America’
An insult to FDR: Donald Trump’s proposed ‘New Deal’ for Black America is an affront to Roosevelt’s civil rights legacy

Honey and vinegar from the Trump campaign: sweet-talk the GOPers you hope will still endorse you, smear the ones who won't
“That means we need your direct, strong support for the Trump/Pence ticket,” Mason added. “Now is the time. No waffling, no week [sic] knees. Hillary Clinton has given us, and continues to give us — and the country — every reason on earth that she is not worthy of winning this election. We strongly urge you today to make a statement — take a stand — and step out for the Trump/Pence ticket.”
Trump Slams Kasich for Not Backing Him 

Trump’s proof of a ‘rigged’ process is unintentionally hilarious 

The Trump campaign is laying the foundation for the day after the election 


Voter fraud -- it's real!
Trump Voter Arrested In Iowa On Voter Fraud Charges

The last black Trump supporter gets abused at a Trump rally -- Trump calls him a "thug" 

Trumpy's phony outreach to Christians includes some groan-worthy comments on the Bible
It is his favorite book, he tells the credulous masses at his rallies. Nobody reads it more than he does. But a review of the record suggests he may not have read it at all. . . . 

The emails! The emails!
***If you enjoy PBD and support what we are doing, you can help by forwarding a copy of this issue to your friends (using the envelope link below) or by sending them a copy of its URL:

I don’t get anything personally out of this project, except the satisfaction of doing it (I don’t run ads, etc.). The credit really all goes to the people whose material I copy and redistribute. But if I do have a “mission,” it is to get this information into the hands of as many people as I can.***