FBI Director Comey speaks out regarding investigations

Today FBI Director Comey spoke at a hearing confirming two very important points: that he has no evidence of any wiretapping by then-president Barack Obama on then-candidate Donald Trump, and more importantly, that the FBI was investigating the Russian hacks of the DNC and members of the Trump campaign in regards to connections and possible collusion with the Russian government. This is a significant step forward in the narrative that Russia interfered with the election, regardless of whether there is indeed any evidence regarding collusion: the fact that these questions can even be asked is concern enough. Now certainly there will be complaints regarding relevancy and importance and whether the left is crying wolf, from both sides, but it is worth pointing out the response the Republican members of the senate and house intelligence committees had regarding these investigations:

They focused on leaks. Solely on leaks, to be clear.

Now sure from a government perspective these are significant and concerning, certainly the sheer speed and number of leaks is worthy of concern, but not only were the leaks not even part of Comeys briefing, they were also used as a cover to ignore any part of the investigation, the wiretapping, anything pertinent whatsoever. This either shows an intent to obfuscate the issue behind a minor concern they drummed up, or a tacit willingness for these actions, hacking and collusion and so forth, to continue so long as it harms the opposition and benefits them. At the very least they should acknowledge the concerns raised by these investigations, instead of what Rep. Nunes focused on, especially afterwards in discussions with the press.

At least pretend to be concerned over foreign influence in elections, Nunes, it’s not that hard.

 

Citation:
Mother Jones: FBI Director (kinda) calls Trump a liar
Mother Jones: Republican Congressman leading probe has never heard of Key Trump Figures

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Sessions recuses himself from Investigation

A recent Politico piece made the argument that Attorney General Sessions recused himself from the congressional investigation regarding Russian involvement with the Trump campaign, primarily due to a lack of support from his party. While the administration maintains that he committed no crime, GOP elites, heads of investigation boards, the house freedom caucus and such have insisted that he recuse himself due to the allegations of his communication with the Russian Ambassador. Which he has done.

The article maintains that because of the lack of support, Sessions had little choice but to recuse himself which presents an interesting position. The lack of support can stretch to further repercussions, such as impeachment and resignation (the article also points to this being the reason why Nixon resigned but Clinton did not when beach suffered an impeachment). Can this be applied to further roles and individuals? Like Kushner who was also mentioned to speak with the ambassador in the same meeting, or Bannon, if anything comes up regarding collusion or influence.

Can this be applied to Trump? It would have to be significant and require Trump to isolate himself from the party, but this has happened before it could happen again.

Still currently Sessions is the biggest issue. Stopping any involvement in the congressional investigation is only beneficial towards that end, and if information comes out, which it may or may not; we know nothing about what was discussed, regarding further collusion or illegal acts, he could be forced to resign. What matters now is continuing the pressure on Trump and his ilk, and maintaining the grassroots resistance, using this as further fuel. The more that comes out the more people will be incentivised to fight.

Citation:
Politico: Why Sessions Recused Himself

Intelligence Committees plod along

The two intelligence committees in congress and the Senate involved in investigating the Russian involvement and collusion with the Trump campaign are currently led by Republicans. This is no surprise, much of the government is led by Republicans however this is concerning simply because neither of these men, Rep. Nunes and Sen. Burr, show little interest in investigating any ties with the commander in chief and Russia.

This reluctance or ambivalence, however you phrase, mostly manifests itself in a slow, plodding investigation, which in the case of Nunes, has only just now completed the ‘scoping’ of the investigation, and has yet to formally begin it. As such, this will at bets take months if not years to achieve any form of credible conclusion, if it isn’t simply stopped due to a lack of evidence or lack of resources or any such reason either committee could have for simply ending it.

Chiefly this is a concern because of how people will react to this campaign, mainly by forgetting it. Frankly with all that is occurring within the US and around the globe people will, quite reasonably, lose interest in an investigation that seemingly isn’t going anywhere. Trump will do this, China will do that, and organization will erupt or something, and people will move on. As Jeremy Bash, chief council on the Hose intelligence committee between 2007 and 2008 said, “the real investigation is the time that goes by”.

If we forget, this will disappear and we will never know what, if any, collusion there was.

Be wary. Be Aware. And do no Forget.

 

Citation:
Mother Jones: Can republicans be trusted to Investigate Trumps Russia Scandal?

Why it Matters that Azaria was Punished, and Why it’s Concerning

Sgt. Elor Azaria has been sentenced to 18 months’ prison for manslaughter – that is shooting a wounded Palestinian in the head after an altercation regarding these two and another soldier, who was stabbed by the Palestinian. This is at once significant and disturbing for a few reasons.

Firstly: 18 months for killing a man brutally, taking into account the circumstances, is still far too short regarding the crime and people involved (for context a British soldier committing a similar crime was sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter, which has a minimum of 6 years). Which leads to the second point.

Secondly: the sheer level of resistance to any punishment, and the outcry over one as short as this not only from the right wing politicians in Israel, but also the Israeli people is deeply concerning. In many other cases where Palestinians are harmed or killed, there is often no punishment for the soldiers and many are lauded for doing their duty, according to the Israeli people.

The culture surrounding the military in Israel is blindly supportive, and very opposed to any form of leniency to the Palestinians. While some of this is understandable, no nation enjoys being attacked by a terrorist group (the group Hamas works within Palestinian territory and routinely attacks and accosts soldiers and Israel), it changes little as it ignores a fundamental reality about this case. Palestine wasn’t prosecuting Azaria.

The Military was.

He broke the rules, the military standards he had to operate by and was being punished for it, and then politics got involved. At the end of the day, the law was broken, standards breached, a man was killed and the politicians and Israeli people wanted him forgiven or pardoned, because the victim was a Palestinian.

It’s good that he’s being punished. But if Israel continues to forgive crimes against a certain people, and moves forward with a one state solution however that might occur, then not only will crimes like this continue to exist in whatever aftermath comes from this, but they will get worse and the international community is not and will not be so forgiving for a second apartheid. Let’s hope it’s not worse.

Citation:
Time: Israel soldier Jailed for 18 months