“Leaks” Are Not the Issue

Apologists for the so called president are trying to distract from the clear evidence James Comey delivered during his recent testimony of illegal conduct on the Donald’s part by whining about Comey’s admission that he deliberately asked a friend to deliver the contents of his notes from his meetings with the so called president to a reporter in the hope of inducing the appointment of “special counsel.”

As one Fox News (!) personality put the point, “He’s supposed to hunt leakers. He’s not supposed to leak himself.”

This is typical Republican obfuscation for the purpose of distracting from the criminal activity of the so called president.

Comey explained in response to a question from Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) that, after Trump tweeted the cheap threat that Comey better hope there were no tapes of their conversations before he leaked anything to the press, that he had not considered that possibility, but once the Donald mooted it, he decided he should get his version of events into public discussion, expressly with the hope that doing so would “prompt the appointment of special counsel.”

And the Donald’s decision to fire Comey, combined with the information from Comey’s notes, prompted the number two official at the Justice Department to appoint Robert Mueller, himself a former director of the FBI, as special counsel with authority to investigate any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Attorney General Jefferson Sessions did not appoint the special counsel because he has recused himself from the matter after admitting that he met with the ambassador from Russia during the campaign last year.

Calling Comey’s deliberate delivery of his meeting notes to a reporter a “leak” is ridiculous in the extreme. A “leak” occurs when a government employee deliberately gives to a reporter information s/he should not give to anyone outside the government. Leaks from presidential administrations are commonplace, although “conservative” commentator Matt Drudge, presumably an ally of the so called president, pointed out that not a single damaging leak emerged from the Obama White House in eight years, but they are a daily occurrence from the Trump White House.

The Donald has no one to blame for this state of affairs but himself. Since he has no discernible policy program beyond a few stupid ideas aimed at encouraging discrimination against certain minority groups, and employment in his administration depends solely on loyalty to the Donald himself, he invites infighting among his staff, who use leaks to advance their relative positions with the so called president.

Comey made his notes about his meetings with the Donald in the course of his employment as director of the FBI, so they are not his personal documents. He has a responsibility to preserve them under the Presidential Records Act, but that is not the issue here. No one has alleged that he has destroyed any records.

Instead, the problem is whom he distributed the contents of his memos to — a reporter, expressly for the purpose of making them public. At the time, he was not a federal employee, so any laws governing disclosure of information or material by federal employees did not apply to him. There is no claim that any classified information was involved.

The job he had just left required him to look out for criminal conduct and report it to a prosecutor, which is exactly what he did, albeit indirectly. He has now apparently handed over his notes directly to the special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, which he could not do when he gave them to the reporter because Mueller was not then the special prosecutor.

The reason why Trump apologists would try to make Comey’s alleged “leak” the issue is that his notes, added to his Senate testimony, clearly puts the president’s apparently illegal conduct in trying to thwart the investigation into Flynn’s conduct, which is very likely tied closely to that of other Trump campaign personnel, fully into the crosshairs of Mueller’s investigation.

In sum, all thinking people will ignore the whining about Comey’s “leak” and focus instead on what Mueller finds about illegal conduct by the so called president.

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