Trump warns Comey and attacks media

The Donald Trump sacking of FBI Director James Comey is escalating after the reasons for the termination have kept changing, and Trump appears to be unhappy with the bad press.

The sacking is said to be because he was getting increasingly irate with Comey and with media coverage of investigations into Russian collusion with Trumps presidential campaign.

Now Trump seems to be getting even more irate with the media for covering the debacle.

  • Then the President came for the media.
  • Then the President came for the FBI.
  • Then the President came for the media again.

CBS News: Sean Spicer faces first White House briefing since Comey’s firing

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Friday is giving his first briefing since President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, as questions about the timing and reasoning behind Mr. Trump’s shocking decision mount.

Mr. Trump suggested Friday morning over Twitter that maybe “it would be best to cancel” the White House press briefings, after Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave an account of the decision to fire Comey that was in direct conflict with what Mr. Trump said later.

Spicer has been at the Pentagon fulfilling his Naval Reserve duty, and was supposed to continue work at the Pentagon Friday, but was called back to the White House. The president suggested, again over Twitter, that because he’s such “a very active President,” that his surrogates can’t speak for him “with perfect accuracy.”

The White House has claimed Mr. Trump fired Comey because he lost the confidence of rank-and-file FBI employees and because of a Tuesday recommendation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to fire Comey over his handling of the Clinton email investigation.

But Mr. Trump himself has contradicted initial statements (as well as his own termination letter of Comey), claiming he was going to fire Comey regardless of any DOJ recommendation and that when he decided to fire Comey, he thought of the “made-up” story about his connections to Russia.

Earlier this year, the president also asked Comey to pledge his loyalty. Comey responded that he could promise that he’d be honest with him.

Mr. Trump’s account of the dinner differs from Comey’s, and earlier Friday, he tweeted that Comey had “better hope that there are no ‘tapes.‘”

Comey was leading the investigation into Russian election meddling.

Fox News: It was all Trump’s decision: POTUS changes White House narrative on Comey firing

When President Trump sat down with Lester Holt yesterday, he essentially altered the version of James Comey’s firing that his top aides have been pressing in public.

“I was going to fire regardless of recommendation,” he told the NBC anchor. The recommendation in question was a two-page memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who had been on the job for two weeks.

Rosenstein is “highly respected,” Trump said, “he made a recommendation, but regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey” (who he called a “showboat” and a “grandstander”).

At Wednesday’s press briefing, Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked: “So it’s the White House’s assertion that Rod Rosenstein decided on his own, after being confirmed, to review Comey’s performance?”

“Absolutely,” she replied. “And I think most of America had decided on their own that Director Comey was not the person that should be leading the FBI.”

But if the president asked for a review to buttress a move he planned to take anyway, then Rosenstein’s letter isn’t the crucial document that was being advertised.

Sanders told ABC’s Jon Karl yesterday she hadn’t had the chance to ask the president that question about whether he had already made up his mind. “Nobody was in the dark…You’re trying to create this false narrative,” she said.

None of this affects the core question of whether the president acted properly in canning his FBI director. But it does underscore that the administration’s rollout of this controversial decision has been shaky.

The media narrative has moved on to whether the White House is engaging in some kind of coverup, with newspaper accounts challenging some of the administration’s key points.

And that is upsetting Trump, further raising suspicions that he is trying to hide something.

NY Times: Trump Warns Comey and Says He May Cancel Press Briefings

President Trump on Friday warned James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director he fired this week, against leaking anything negative about the president and put the news media on notice that he may cancel future White House briefings.

In a series of early-morning posts on Twitter, Mr. Trump even seemed to suggest that there may be secret tapes of his conversations with Mr. Comey that could be used to counter the former F.B.I. director if necessary. It was not immediately clear whether he meant that literally, or simply hoped to intimidate Mr. Comey into silence.

“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.

Mr. Trump appeared agitated over news reports on Friday that focused on contradictory accounts of his decision to fire Mr. Comey at the same time the F.B.I. is investigating ties between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.

A self inflicted train wreck by Trump. It was only a matter of time before his reactive behaviour and ego would escalate – at least this is happening on internal matters and not in the Far East or the Middle East.

The presidency could be in a state of failure, but Foreign Policy goes further and asks Is America a Failing State?

We have the tin-pot leader whose vanity knows no bounds. We have the rapacious family feathering their nests without regard for the law or common decency.

We have utter disregard for values at home and abroad, the disdain for democracy, the hunger for constraining a free press, the admiration for thugs and strongmen worldwide.

We have all the makings of a banana republic. But worse, we are showing the telltale signs of a failing state. Our government has ceased to function. Party politics and gross self-interest has rendered the majority party oblivious to its responsibilities to its constituents and the Constitution of the United States.

On a daily basis, Republicans watch their leader violate not only the traditions and standards of the high office he occupies, but through inaction they enable him to personally profit from the presidency, promote policies that benefit his cronies and his class to the detriment of the majority of the American people, and serially attack the principles on which the country was founded — from freedom of religion to the separation of powers.

Is it that bad? It is looking increasingly like that.

Trump has had staunch supporters but some of those must be starting to wonder whether he is unfit for purpose.

 

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60 Comments

  1. Reply
  2. lurcher1948

     /  13th May 2017

    In regard to the [deleted] POTUSs secret tapes that allegation will go the same way as the trump tower wiretap.At 72 the [deleted]

    Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  13th May 2017

      PG i have standards, the POTUS trump doesn’t rule me or our country,if mr trump was on fire on the other side of the road, i would not cross over it to pee on the liar. Stop defending this dangerous fool.just saying

      Reply
      • lurcher1948

         /  13th May 2017

        There are idiots on whaleoil,kiwiblog and this blog who think the potus is our PM and saviour, no you idiots try Mugabe PUTIN the idiot running north Korea,trump is a old liar and is a leader of the country USA…blog hosts OUR COUNTRY IS CALLED NEW ZEALAND not usa

        Reply
  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  13th May 2017

    There is a huge partisan divide in attitudes to the media in the US. So Republicans are with Trump in attacking it and Democrats are outraged. The war will continue.

    Reply
    • I think there is growing concern amongst Republican politicians as well as independents and Democrats.

      It is more of a potential constitutional and legal crisis rather than a partisan issue.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  13th May 2017

        Whether it is a constitutional or legal crisis is a partisan issue. Obviously Trump has a few long-standing enemies in the GOP but they seem isolated and progress on the Obamacare repeal seems to have consolidated his party support. I don’t see much evidence for your claim much as the media would like it to be true.

        Reply
      • David

         /  13th May 2017

        “It is more of a potential constitutional and legal crisis rather than a partisan issue.”

        What is the constitutional and legal crisis in this exactly? The director of the FBI is appointed by the President and the President is quite within his power to fire him.

        Given Comey’s performance, the only surprise is the timing.

        Reply
  4. Cass Sunstein at Bloomberg: First He Came for the FBI. What’s Next?

    In these circumstances, it is important to avoid hysteria or comparisons to President Richard Nixon’s disgraceful discharge of special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate affair. (Cox had not lost the nation’s trust; his only sin was to threaten Nixon.)

    There’s some fairly strong suggestions that Trump felt threatened by Comey and the FBI.

    But for Americans of every political stripe, Trump’s decision has to set off alarm bells, because of the possibility that he will try to undermine some essential safeguards against the awesome power of the president — and succeed in doing so.

    By law, the FBI is not an independent entity. No less than the departments of State, Energy and Transportation, it is subject to the control of the president, in the sense that the director serves at his pleasure. But there is an important difference. By tradition, and in recognition of his unique role, the director’s decisions are often free from White House oversight or direction.

    The reason is simple. The director is in charge of investigating possible violations of the law, including those by federal officials. Political interference with such investigations poses multiple risks, including the reality or appearance of self-dealing, partisanship, protection of friends, punishment of enemies and even corruption. True, the FBI director is not a judge. But as Republican and Democratic presidents have recognized for decades, he must retain the ability to do his job with a high degree of independence from the political concerns and self-interest of the White House.

    To date, Trump’s bark has been much worse than his bite. Comey was badly tarnished, and his firing may portend nothing at all. But coming from the position of the commander in chief, Trump’s unrelenting demonization of the news media and undignified (and occasionally vicious) ridiculing of political opponents represent exercises in intimidation. Might they be a precursor to something far worse?

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-10/first-he-came-for-the-fbi-what-s-next

    It’s not partisan to have concerns about Trump’s attacks on media and his threats against Comey and implied threats against the FBI.

    Blaming the media and partisanship is a way to make excuses for some serious issues being raised by Trump’s behaviour and actions.

    Reply
  5. Gezza

     /  13th May 2017

    I said yesterday that Trump has turned the US Presidency into a farce.
    I think I understated it. He’s turned it into a high farce.

    Even if he is facing a ‘partisan anti-Trump’ media, he’s made it that way, right from the start of his campaign & even before it, from probably even before he hitched his wagon to the Obama Birther campaign & continued pushing that myth long after it was shown to be a nonsense.

    It was free publicity – guaranteed, continuous, priority coverage – & he knew it was obviously a correctly-judged strategy to get it.

    The downside is that he has no idea how to be anything but the same, egotistical billionaire reality tv boss who likes to surround himself with sycophantic flunkies.

    The way to deal with a partisan media is simple enough for a normal, well-grounded National Leader in an open democracy with a free press – treat the role & function of the office & just get on with the job. He’s shown himself to have NFI how to do that. His continual series of meetings with world leaders and embarrassing, self- praising press conferences after every single one of them are a joke.

    I mean, world leaders obviously need to do this, but you can almost see them all silently thinking I’m out here with a ehotistical nut job because I have to be.

    America was ready for change, not chaos.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  13th May 2017

      Sorry about some typos, ma was in me ear on the blower & I winged it a bit.

      Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  13th May 2017

      ‘Farce’ depends which side of the wall of confirmation bias you stand G. Personally I think Hukabees sentiments are closer to the mark. And by the way mum’s are beautiful creatures. Give her a big hug tomorrow. Cheers,c

      The antics of the left since November have shown us the massive cannonball we dodged. Simply by occupying the office, refusing to be intimidated, and advancing the agenda he promised, he caused the “other side” to show itself for what it is: irrational, arrogant, hysterical, hateful, sometimes even violent, and unable to relinquish control over the most basic American liberties. Who better to stand up to that and for the interests of America than a master negotiator with the hide of a rhinoceros?

      Reply
      • Blaming the other side that didn’t get into power for their own mistakes and mess is a bit lame.

        Or it would be lame if they weren’t trying to stir up a blame smokescreen to hide their own incompetence.

        I don’t care how bad Clinton might have been. She isn’t.

        I have serious genuine and serious concerns about the effect Trump could have on the world. And what is happening is increasing my concerns.

        I’m not so worried about whether he trashes US democracy or not, but if the US goes down it will drag us down.

        Reply
        • Conspiratoor

           /  13th May 2017

          Put the rhetoric to one side for a moment and tell us what he has actually done to trigger a third world war

          Reply
          • I haven’t said he has triggered a third world war. I don’t think anyone has, so that is irrelevant.

            Reply
            • Conspiratoor

               /  13th May 2017

              Perhaps not but I would be interested to know how you see the US ‘dragging us down’ since you have promoted it as a possible scenario

  6. Trump’s latest tweets:

    Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  13th May 2017

      He can be prolific but are you sure these are his ‘latest tweets’? Or a selection designed to fuel your confirmation bias?

      Reply
      • That’s a lot of responses cluttering his feed but it seems to be a reasonable representation of his activity.

        Talking of responses:

        Reply
        • Conspiratoor

           /  13th May 2017

          Okay, because we are all about balance on this blog here are his ‘latest tweets’…

          Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 59m59 minutes ago
          More
          Today, I welcomed the Victory Christian Center School. Good luck @ the Team America Rocketry Challenge!

          Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 1h1 hour ago
          More
          Today, @FLOTUS hosted a Military Mother’s Day Event in the East Room of the WH. It was an honor to stop by, say hello

          Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 9h9 hours ago
          More
          China just agreed that the U.S. will be allowed to sell beef, and other major products, into China once again. This is REAL news!

          Reply
          • They make no difference to the content of the other tweets. That he says some mundane things amongst a lot of nonsense does not reduce the amount of nonsense.

            Reply
            • Conspiratoor

               /  13th May 2017

              Not sure I would pass a trade agreement with china off as mundane. But there you go. Let’s all focus on the important stuff

            • Trade deal feeds China a taste for beef, but won’t close the U.S. trade deficit

              Eager to show progress on improving American trade, the White House announced an agreement with China on a range of market-opening issues that could pave the way for greater U.S. sales of beef, biotechnology products and certain financial services to the world’s second-largest economy.

              On the whole, the 10-item package announced late Thursday was met with skepticism by China experts and financial analysts, who doubted it would have a meaningful effect on the $310 billion trade deficit that the U.S. had with China last year — a key goal of the Trump administration’s trade policy.

              The deal put hard dates on some previously announced steps, such as China’s opening access to U.S. beef by July 16, and was seen largely as the first fruits from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit with Trump at his Mar-a-Lago Florida estate in early April.

              Parts of the agreement merely reaffirmed that the two sides would act as soon as possible and follow through in issuing guidelines on measures crafted during the Obama administration.

              http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-us-china-trade-deal-20170512-story.html

              Not very exciting.

  7. Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  13th May 2017

      Damn despot’s trying to make peace now…

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  13th May 2017

        “Let’s make peace” is a victory? Come on c. Stop it.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  13th May 2017

          One thing’s for sure. The Nobel Committee won’t be rushing to hand out a Nobel Peace Prize to Trumpy. Not after that ballsup with their previous President.

          Reply
        • Conspiratoor

           /  13th May 2017

          G, a victory no. Just something you won’t see amongst all the titillation. I’m worried about you though since you appear to be a level headed fellow. I never thought you’d buy into the hysteria. Cheers,c

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  13th May 2017

            I don’t buy into the hysteria, I buy into the hysterics, c. The whole thing’s like an outrageous comedy. I mean, look st the cheesy grin on Trumpy’s face, compared to the looks on the faces of the dudes he’s with, in those pics above. Farxake. I suppose it could all turn to crap & de whol’ damn worl’ could be blown up, or it might not – who knows, hopefully not – but this evolving shambles of nepotism – & ignorance, & petty point scoring, & outrage, and weird interviews – and tweet wars – and fake gnus – has just got me in stitches half the time.

            Reply
          • Gezza

             /  13th May 2017

            PS: Every US president has said ‘lets make peace’. It goes with the job. most of the time they’ve failed, and sometimes when they have argued they made peace, like Vietnam, the place they made peace in lost to the enemy.

            Reply
    • David

       /  13th May 2017

      “Comey has been professional and discrete, refusing to comment. Yet Trump the despot now threatens him with secret tapes.”

      Hang on a second, Comey was falling over himself to comment on the Clinton email saga, now, suddenly, he’s an exemplar of due process? Notice that Clinton couldn’t shut up about Comey has suddenly gone silent since his firing.

      If you read the letter, Comey has personally absolved Trump of involvement with Russia on three occasions. Comey publicly absolved Clinton on the email thing July last year, despite it being completely against due process. Comey has, presumably, refused to publicly absolve Trump over Russia, so Trump has fired him.

      Claiming that Comey has been professional and discrete is laughable, he deserved to be fired for his unprofessional actions over the Clinton emails, he has been a political weasel from day one.

      Reply
  8. It is the People of the USA who will decide what will happen, we are merely the observers destined to watch and wait, because we have no power (even of the so-called soft power type) to influence events in the USA. I am aware of a planned, financed and determined cooperation between the “Deep State” and the MSM in the USA to block Trump’s administration efforts to set in place a political model to place power back into the hands of the people.
    We are only privy to a superficial look at the steaming morass that is US politics today, and have no real understanding of the interplay of the various forces at work. No point in losing sleep about it or getting emotional about one side or the other, cause it is out of our control already. Do not take counsel of your fears.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  13th May 2017

      How good is your intel? Is it the illuminati who are behind this & are the Clintons involved active participants in the Deep State conspiracy?

      I think Trumpy gebuinely didn’t realise he was ascending to the position of Emperor, ruling over 50 independent states who must pay tribute to his administration.

      Reply
      • I am getting more and more bits of the puzzle together as time goes on. It gets to be a bit tedious when there is so much agitprop around from both sides. However the threads have gone past tenuous to believable, and a number of names are floating to the top in the cess pool. Chasing the money is the biggy. I dismiss the Illuminati as all mirrors and light. The Russians and Chinese have a lot to answer for. Have a wee look at how many Former Russian/Soviet/ Chicom billionaires there are in the USA and te rise and rise of Socialist dogma in the tertiary US. Much more time is needed, but the Clintons are un the weakest position they have ever been since the days of the Saudi and Iran money deals.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  13th May 2017

          Keep us informed. I think of us the largely non-partisan but often fractious YNZ Intelligence Committee.

          Reply
  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  13th May 2017

    I’m confused. He fired a guy who thoroughly deserved to be fired and who I noted had no credibility or future at least six months ago. And somehow this indicates an administration and country in chaos?

    There is certainly madness around but it isn’t in the White House.

    Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  13th May 2017

      You’re right Al.
      Pretty much everyone thought he should be fired until he was.
      Then it became a constitutional crisis.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  13th May 2017

      Well, there’s plenty of evidence of chaos in the White House. It’s quite often evidenced with their spokespersons & various officials not quite getting their statements exactly in sync with the Trump tweets or the Trump interviews, or the facts.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  13th May 2017

        Any of it actually matter or is it just nitpicking trivia for the beltway obsessives?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  13th May 2017

          Well, the medical insurance thing matters for millions of people. The control of immigration thing matters – and I’m with Trumpy there. The jobs thing matters. Facts matter. Outside interference in their elections matter. What the President says and does matter – big league. And knowing whether anyone in that circus of US politics & media & unreal reality tv can believed or taken seriously about anything almost doesn’t matter any more. But Trumpy is the biggest reason for my conclusion on that point. As is often said, the results are what matter. And none of us can see the long term results of anything because we’re all buried in the torrent of shite pouring out of every possible source in the US.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  13th May 2017

            What Trump says doesn’t matter as the media will give you an interpretation from every possible angle and you can take your pick. Only what he does matters and most of that has been on the ball.

            Reply
  10. Alan Wilkinson

     /  13th May 2017

    Another pertinent point: When you hire someone you don’t know them and it is easy to make a mistake. When you fire them you do know them and it is unusual to make a mistake.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  13th May 2017

      Well, interestingly, a similar thing can be said about hiring elected representatives & presidents. When you elect them you don’t know them. When they do you over & wreck the organisation you do know them & so when you fire them it is unusual to make a mistake.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  13th May 2017

        Most leave of their own accord, G. Firing is quite rare IMO, but you might note Enoch Powell: “All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.”

        Reply
      • David

         /  13th May 2017

        I can’t see that anyone can extend that to Trump, he’s been in the public eye for many decades. I don’t think anyone can claim he was ‘unknown’. Ditto Clinton.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  13th May 2017

          His experience for the job was nil, David. He was a gamble people felt worth taking.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  13th May 2017

            Polls show most who took the gamble are happy with what he’s done so far.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  13th May 2017

              Well, that’s all right then. Shouldn’t be any problem in a country where they are all the people.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  13th May 2017

              Civil war then.

            • Gezza

               /  13th May 2017

              Well, ok. If you insist. But remember – when it’s all over, you’ll be getting the blame because it was all your idea. I’m staying out of it.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  13th May 2017

              I love it when the morons down-tick the facts. They hate reality.

            • Gezza

               /  13th May 2017

              It’s not me, Al. Tbh – I’m struggling with wtf reality means over there.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  13th May 2017

              I know it’s not you, G. You have a brain. They don’t.

            • Conspiratoor

               /  13th May 2017

              Al, you must have missed my fiendishly cunning sting operation whereby the phantom downtick fetish was exposed and explained

  11. Trump had an interview with The Economist. A part getting a lot of attention:

    But beyond that it’s OK if the tax plan increases the deficit?

    It is OK, because it won’t increase it for long. You may have two years where you’ll…you understand the expression “prime the pump”?

    Yes.

    We have to prime the pump.

    It’s very Keynesian.

    We’re the highest-taxed nation in the world. Have you heard that expression before, for this particular type of an event?

    Priming the pump?

    Yeah, have you heard it?

    Yes.

    Have you heard that expression used before? Because I haven’t heard it. I mean, I just…I came up with it a couple of days ago and I thought it was good. It’s what you have to do.

    It’s…

    Yeah, what you have to do is you have to put something in before you can get something out.

    http://www.economist.com/Trumptranscript

    Reply
    • Conspiratoor

       /  13th May 2017

      Trump’s an imposter. Agrarian folks have used the term for centuries. Before we pulled the anchor up and moved to town, priming the pump was a weekly chore when the river was called on to keep the whanau watered. I believe there may also be a sexual connotation in there somewhere

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  13th May 2017

        I saw what you did there in that last line 😀. Be careful, if you do too much of that it could make you go blind. ☝

        Reply

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