Trump, Week 17: Friday, 12 May – Thursday, 18 May 2017 (Days 113-119)




Keeping Track (of some things), Staying Outraged (it is possible), and Resisting (it’s essential)


Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are my emphasis. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.


Friday, 12 May 2017, Day 113:


Trump Warning to Comey Prompts Questions on Secret ‘Tapes,’ The New York Times, Peter Baker and Michael D. Shear, Friday, 12 May 2017: “President Trump on Friday warned James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director whom he fired this week, against leaking anything negative about him, saying that Mr. Comey ‘better hope’ that there are no secret tapes of their conversations that the president could use in retaliation. The suggestion that the president may be surreptitiously recording his meetings or telephone calls added a twist at the end of a week that roiled Washington. The president and his spokesman later refused to say whether he tapes his visitors, something Mr. Trump was suspected of doing when he was in business in New York. ‘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 to be referring to an article in The New York Times that said he had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty during a dinner at the White House shortly after the inauguration, only to be rebuffed by the F.B.I. director, who considered it inappropriate. Mr. Trump denied the account, but it was not clear whether he was genuinely revealing the existence of clandestine recordings or simply making a rhetorical point that Mr. Comey’s version of events was false.”

Trump threatens to cancel White House briefings because it is ‘not possible’ for his staff to speak with ‘perfect accuracy,’ The Washington Post, Philip Rucker, Friday, 12 May 2017: “President Trump threatened Friday morning to end White House press briefings, arguing that ‘it is not possible’ for his staff to speak with ‘perfect accuracy’ to the American public. Trump’s comments come after his description of his decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey in an NBC News interview Thursday flatly contradicted the accounts provided earlier by White House officials, including Vice President Pence, exposing their explanations as misleading and in some cases false. In a pair of tweets sent Friday, Trump suggested he might do away with the daily press briefings at the White House and instead have his spokesmen communicate to the public only via ‘written responses.'”

Trump reportedly wanted a loyalty pledge from Comey. The FBI says that ‘leads to tyranny.’ The Washington Post, Aaron Blake, Friday, 12 May 2017: “There are now multiple reports that President Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey in part because Comey didn’t provide him assurances of loyalty. The Washington Post has reported Trump ‘had long questioned Comey’s loyalty and judgment.’ CNN’s Jake Tapper reported that a source close to Comey told him Comey’s lack of “any assurance of personal loyalty” was one of two main reasons Comey was fired. And now the New York Times is reporting that Trump asked for a loyalty pledge during a dinner about a week after Trump was inaugurated:

As they ate, the president and Mr. Comey made small talk about the election and the crowd sizes at Mr. Trump’s rallies. The president then turned the conversation to whether Mr. Comey would pledge his loyalty to him.

Mr. Comey declined to make that pledge. Instead, Mr. Comey has recounted to others, he told Mr. Trump that he would always be honest with him, but that he was not ‘reliable’ in the conventional political sense.

Trump would have known what Comey’s answer would be if he had taken the time to understand the oath taken by FBI officers — and members of the military for that matter. Those oaths are taken to the Constitution and not the president for a very specific reason. Right there on its website, the FBI says the bureau and its officials must only swear an oath to the Constitution — not even a president. The reason? Because the latter ‘too easily leads to tyranny’.”…

Continue reading Week 17, Friday, 12 May – Thursday, 18 May 2017:

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