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Paul A Duginski
Paul A Duginski
Paul Duginski is a political cartoonist and veteran newspaper staff artist. He enjoys reading history, literature and going bodyboarding whenever he has time.


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Posted in Politics / Elections / National

Fake Reasons

May 10, 2017 1:49 pm
Categories: None

On Monday, President Trump called investigations into his administration’s ties to Russia and Kremlin meddling in the 2016 election a “taxpayer funded charade” and a “total hoax.”

On Tuesday, he fired FBI Director James B. Comey, citing, um, Trumped up reasons.

So much of what this administration does and says would seem to be directly out of Putin’s playbook, depending brazenly on disinformation.

Disinformation comes from the Russian word, dezinformatsiya, which means intentionally false or misleading information spread in a deliberate effort to deceive. We’re not talking about false information spread by mistake or accident here.

So it was Tuesday with the fake reasons for the firing of Comey, a man Trump once praised for investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of private email servers.

Comey’s handling of Clinton was controversial, but well known by all sides since July 5, 2016, when Comey announced the conclusions of an FBI investigation in which he pilloried Clinton, but found that her actions did not warrant an indictment.

In October, just 11 days before the election, he disclosed that the FBI had reopened its investigation after finding more emails on a computer belonging to former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton aide and confidant Huma Abedin.

Trump praised Comey at the time, leading his rallies in chants of “lock her up!”

The renewed investigation came up empty, but the damage was done. Comey may very well have thrown the election to Trump.

Now, suddenly, what Trump knew about and praised way back during the campaign — actions he may even owe his election to — were criticized by Deputy Atty. Gen. Rod Rosenstein in a memorandum to Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions.

This was “nothing but old news,” to use Trump’s dismissive words about Acting Atty. Gen. Sally Yates’ testimony on Monday regarding Michael Flynn’s Russian connections.

But it’s old news that can be a handy pretext for firing an FBI chief whose investigation may be getting a little too close to the truth — too close for comfort. Once again, James Comey is useful to Trump, this time in providing a distraction.

The whole thing stinks to high heaven.

As Minnesota Sen. Al Franken wondered, what is Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions doing getting involved and thereby betraying his vow to recuse himself from the Russian probe? Rosenstein directed his memo to Sessions, who passed the recommendation that Comey be fired on to Trump. Sessions, you will recall, got caught lying under oath to Congress about his own contacts with Moscow.

If all of this looks really bad, it’s probably because it is. These guys seem desperate because the hounds of justice are baying and getting inexorably closer and closer, in spite of all efforts to throw them off the scent. Why else would this administration take the unusual step of firing an FBI director and bringing on the obvious comparisons with Richard Nixon’s infamous Saturday Night Massacre on Oct. 20, 1973? The only thing I can imagine is that the alternative — allowing the investigation to continue unimpeded, sans time-buying delays and distractions — is even less palatable.

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