With Pr*sident Trump saying Joe Lieberman is his leading choice to head up the FBI, Alan Pyke at Think Progress takes a dive into all the reasons the former senator should not get the job:
The conflict between Trump’s view that executive branch leaders owe him personal loyalty and the institutional needs of the country casts its own historically unique shadows across this new hiring process. But Lieberman’s political career is full of evidence he would be a dangerous pick to head the domestic security service even under a more normal presidency.
Lieberman is very fond of spying on Americans — and not just in the post-9/11 context. Lieberman pushed to give local police authority to wiretap without seeking a warrant as far back as 1995. Years later, when President George W. Bush had drastically expanded the National Security Agency’s listening capabilities and turned the U.S. informational spying apparatus on his own people, Lieberman emerged as a key Democrat ally to an embattled Republican White House. He called civil liberties concerns about the Bush programs “petty partisan fighting.”
The Bush wiretapping case is another Lieberman resume detail with awkward implications for Trump today. The story contains vague echoes of Trump’s modern, and more personal, conflict with the FBI. When the extent of Bush’s warrantless surveillance of Americans became clear to government insiders, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller and then-Deputy Attorney General James Comey stood athwart the White House’s push to scrap the Bill of Rights. With Attorney General John Ashcroft briefly hospitalized for gall bladder surgery, Bush sent officials to his bedside to seek the incapacitated man’s signature on documents extending the surveillance system’s authorization.
Comey and Mueller got there first, prevented the signing, and then prevailed on Bush to either bring the program back into line with the law or accept their resignations.
“That’s a pretty pivotal thing, when you look the president in the eye and say no,” Weiner said. “That takes integrity. That takes a measure of bravery.”
Lieberman was not part of that backstage drama, which Bush has written caused him to think of the Watergate-era “Saturday Night Massacre” that helped accelerate President Richard Nixon’s downfall. But he was on the opposite side of the argument to Comey and Mueller — two men who stood on principle over politics that day in 2004, and who today are key figures in the ongoing investigation of Trump’s Russian entanglements.
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“Purpose of counter-intelligence action is to disrupt and it is immaterial whether facts exist to substantiate the charge. If facts are present it aids in the success of the proposal but the Bureau feels … that disruption can be accomplished without facts to back it up.”
~J. Edgar Hoover, 1962
TWEET OF THE DAY
Sorry for yelling guys. BUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS S@#%SHOW THEY ARE STILL TRYING TO TAKE AWAY YOUR HEALTHCARE AND RUIN THE INTERNET.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 19, 2017
BLAST FROM THE PAST
At Daily Kos on this date in 2011—Oil-subsidized Senators just returning the favor:
When Republican Senators (with two exceptions) decided on a procedural motion Tuesday not to take up a bill that would have removed $2 a billion a year in tax “incentives” for the world’s five largest private oil companies, they had one good reason in their pockets. Over the past two decades, since 1989, they have collectively accepted just under $21 million in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Democrats (with three exceptions), plus the Senate’s two independents, voted that there should be a debate about the incentives—a collection of tax breaks that amounts to subsidies of the five oil giants, which in the first quarter of this year made $36 billion in profit. Collectively, the Democrats and independents who voted for a debate have accepted just under $5 million in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies.
Six Republican Senators alone took in twice as much in career oil-company contributions as those 48 Democrats and two independents who voted “Aye” in the Senate. They are: John McCain of Arizona ($2,718,774); Kay Bailey Hutchison ($2,141,025) and John Cornyn ($1,734,950), both of Texas; James “Climate Change Is a Hoax” Inhofe of Oklahoma ($1,256,023), David Vitter of Louisiana ($943,885), and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky ($914,811).
On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Trumpshambles Abroad! How to Babysit The Donald. Trump wants Flynn probe dropped … so he can rehire him! Chaffetz has one foot out the door, while Nunes has his hand in the cookie jar. Your weekend roundup of smartbrain reading on the special counsel.
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