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Crosstalk: Was Comey fired as a cover up?

The firing of FBI director James Comey — whether in response to his handling of the Clinton email investigation as stated by the White House or his investigation in Russian hacking during the election as implied by President Trump — will not keep the American people from eventually learning the truth of what happened.

Both houses of Congress are looking at the issue, and the ongoing FBI investigation is too far along to be derailed.

So far, suggestion that Russian attempts to influence the election were “fake news” propagated by the media and Democrats appear to have been disproved: On Jan. 6, The CIA, FBI and NSA released their unclassified report, concluding unanimously, “Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.”

The three intelligence agencies agree that “the Russian government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible.” The report also states that WikiLeaks had been Russia’s conduit for the effort, writing “We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence (General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU) used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.

com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks.”

I guess Trump was the one blowing smoke on this aspect of Russian involvement in the election.

The question became, then, was the Trump team working with the Russian hackers and spies during the election?

Even a cursory examination of the facts suggest plenty of room for further investigation. Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, has come under fire amid reports that he secretly worked to advance Russian interests for years before he joined Trump's presidential campaign last April. And Roger Stone, while working for Trump's campaign, said – and later retracted – that he had communications with the Russian hacker cited in investigations and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

But that will all hopefully become clear during the congressional investigations.

The President will likely reference “fake news” and “liberal media” going forward, so it might be interesting to ask how reliable his statements are by asking a simple question — does Trump have a relationship with Putin?

In October of 2013, speaking on air to David Letterman, Trump said “I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians…” When pressed, Trump added, “He’s a tough guy. I met him once.”

In 2014, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump told the audience that he had interacted with Putin’s team when he was in Moscow. “You know, I was in Moscow a couple months ago, I own the Miss Universe pageant, and they treated me so great. Putin even sent me a present, beautiful present, with a beautiful note. I spoke to all of his people.”

In September of 2015, Trump said in a radio interview, “Two years ago, I was in Moscow… I was with the top-level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top-of-the-government people. I can’t go further than that, but I will tell you that I met the top people, and the relationship was extraordinary.”

And then, in July of 2016, his story changes: “I never met Putin, I don’t know who Putin is. He said one nice thing about me...I never met Putin.”

(For those of you who, like Trump, don’t know who Putin is, he is president of Russia.)

Trump has denied knowing Putin so many times now that I am reminded of the Biblical account of Peter’s denial of Jesus.

The question now is simply when the cock will crow for Trump.

— Mark Gibson

resident Donald Trump picked a bad time to fire FBI Director James Comey because it just aided the quest by Democrats to stir up discord and controversy.

If Trump had fired Comey on day one of taking office, then it would have been generally accepted because he had been harshly critical about Comey wiggling around Hillary Clinton’s obvious violations of the law while she was secretary of state.

By choosing to ditch Comey almost four months into his presidency, Trump handed Democrats more fuel to pour on the fire of their baseless claims that he colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election.

Even though that investigation has been going on for months, there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE to show that Russia interfered in U.S. politics.

If there was any evidence of wrongdoing, the intelligence agencies, full of Obama appointees who are leaking information to the press like a sieve, would have come forward with it by now.

Of course, that doesn’t stop Democrats and the leftmedia from continuing to promote this conspiracy theory.

Their rationale that Clinton lost because of the Russians is ridiculous given that Republican wins not only were big in Washington, D.C., but across the nation in state legislatures and gubernatorial races.

It was the message as well as the messenger!

Trump is no politician, which is largely why he was elected, but he does need to learn a few things about the “thrust and parry” of politics. When you have liberals up in arms because you are taking America back to its traditional values, you don’t need to unnecessarily fan the flames.

The hypocrisy of Democrats over Comey’s departure is nauseating — remember how they were calling for his head after he sent lawmakers a critical letter about Clinton just before the election?

They are now condemning Trump for getting rid of Comey, which they say was done to cover up illegal activity.

That argument, like so many others, is ridiculous. Firing Comey does nothing to end the continuing bogus investigation.

Let’s not forget what’s at the heart of the accusations by Democrats: Russian operatives hacked the Democratic National Committee’s computer system and released information through Wikileaks about plans to torpedo Bernie Sanders campaign and other corruption.

Comey was fired after recently emerging back in the limelight when Clinton openly blamed him for her loss. Last July he publicly outlined her cavalier handling of national security secrets before recommending no penalties.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, to whom Comey directly reported, and who will take over the Russian investigation, was just installed at the Department of Justice. Bolstered by Clinton’s remarks, he wrote a memorandum recommending that Comey be fired for his handling of her investigation, which was endorsed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

As usual, the media is attempting to whip up fury with sensationalized reports that describe the Trump administration’s dismissal of Comey as a “Coup” and “Nixonian” and even a “dictator’s stand against inquiry.”

Despite this mind-numbing nonsense and the unrelenting obstruction by Democrats, a recent ABC poll shows that 96 percent of the people who voted for Trump still support him. He was put into office to change the way the federal government does business, restore the economy and beef up national security.

Comey’s firing will end a raging internal FBI debate over his controversial leadership. Unfortunately, Trump’s handling of the matter, and inconsistent statements he made afterward, have provided more cannon fodder.

— RaeLynn Ricarte


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