Watergate Redux or ‘Deep State’ Coup? by Robert Parry

Let the Comey stories begin. Here’s SLL’s prediction. The Comey firing has already gotten the predictable flutters of outrage from the people who are outraged by everything Trump says or does, although many of these same people have said publicly that Comey should have been fired. That’s the first order reaction. The second order reaction is Trump’s base saying so what, Comey had it coming, and pointing out the hypocrisy of the outrage. That’s already started, too. The third order reaction is that Trump finds a new FBI head, the desultory and interminable Russian investigation continues without finding much of anything, but Trump’s opponents keep trying to make it into something. The fourth order reaction is that whomever Trump appoints understands that there will be an investigation on leaks to the press of classified and sensitive information not just from the FBI, but from the intelligence agencies. That investigation may actually go somewhere. For an excellent and perhaps prescient take on why Comey deserved to be fired, written last month, see “The FBI and Hillary, Again,” by Andrew P. Napolitano.

For tonight’s first guest interpretation, here’s Robert Parry at consortiumnews.com:

Exclusive: Official Washington is abuzz, comparing President Trump’s ouster of FBI Director Comey to President Nixon’s Watergate cover-up, but there is a darker “deep state” interpretation of these events, says Robert Parry.

President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday reflected a growing concern inside the White House that the long-rumored scheme by “deep state” operatives to overturn the results of the 2016 election may have been more than just rumors.

The fear grew that Comey and other senior officials in the U.S. intelligence community had concluded last year that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump was a suitable future president, albeit for different reasons. I’m told that Clinton was seen as dangerously hawkish and Trump as dangerously unqualified, opinions privately shared by then-President Barack Obama.

So, according to this account, plans were made last summer to damage both Clinton and Trump, with the hope of putting a more stable and less risky person in the Oval Office – with key roles in this scheme played by Comey, CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

When I first heard about this supposed cabal in the middle of last year, I dismissed it as something more fitting a Jason Bourne movie than the real world. But – to my amazement – the U.S. intelligence community then began intervening in the presidential campaign in unprecedented ways.

On July 5, 2016, Director Comey dealt a severe blow to Clinton by holding a press conference to denounce her use of a private email server while Secretary of State as “extremely careless,” yet he announced that no legal action would follow, opening her to a damaging line of attack that she jeopardized national security but that her political status gave her special protection.

Then, on Oct. 28, just ten days before the election, Comey reopened the investigation because of emails found on the laptop of disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the husband of Clinton’s close aide Huma Abedin. That move re-injected Clinton’s email controversy into the campaign, along with the unsavory issues surrounding Weiner’s sexting scandal, and reminded voters about the sex-related scandals that have swirled around Bill Clinton for years.

To make matters worse, Comey closed the investigation again just two days before the election, once more putting the Clinton email controversy in front of voters. That also reaffirmed the idea that Clinton got special treatment because of her political clout, arguably the most damaging image possible in an election year dominated by voter anger at “elites.”

Clinton herself has said that if the election had been held on Oct. 27 – the day before Comey reopened the email inquiry – she would have won. In other words, whether Comey’s actions were simply clumsy or possibly calculated, the reality is that he had an outsized hand in drowning  Clinton’s candidacy, a point that Trump’s Justice Department also noted on Tuesday in justifying Comey’s firing.

To continue reading: Watergate Redux or ‘Deep State’ Coup?

 

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