Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are once again relieved that Hillary Clinton is not president after she once again blames everyone and everything but herself for losing to Donald Trump. They are also puzzled as a flurry of lobbying in favor of the climate deal takes place after Turmp supposedly decided to withdraw from it. And they react to former Vice President Joe Biden starting a new Super PAC and fueling speculation that he may run for president in 2020 in a primary that could feature many elderly Democrats.
While the media and politicians from both parties look for deeper reasons for President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, a former Justice Department official says the decision was long overdue and needed for obvious reasons.
Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Victoria Toensing says she and others in the the justice and law enforcement community urged Trump to dismiss Comey from day one.
“It just came too late, 109 days too late. Those of us in the swamp knew who the alligators were in the swamp, and we all tried to warn the White House and they didn’t listen to us,” said Toensing, who also served as a federal prosecutor.
And why did they implore Trump to fire him?
“Comey was a narcissist. It was all about Comey and he delighted in wanting to bring down powerful people if they were Republicans,” said Comey.
Toensing also points to how Comey, during his days as deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, tapped his close friend, Patrick Fitzgerald to investigate the alleged exposing of a covert CIA operative.
That probe resulted in a criminal conviction for Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former chief of staff to former Vice President Dick Cheney. But that’s not who Fitzgerald really wanted.
“Throughout that investigation, Scooter’s lawyer was told consistently by the Fitzgerald people, ‘If you give up Dick Cheney, this will all go away.’ They were trying to bring down Dick Cheney, and you can bet your bottom dollar that Comey was talking with Fitzgerald while he was doing this,” said Toensing, who represents Libby in his quest for a presidential pardon.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration released its rationale for the Comey firing, focusing on his public announcement that no charges should be filed against Hillary Clinton in the wake of the FBI probe into her use of a private, unsecured server through which she sent and received classified information while she served as Secretary of State.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein accused Comey of usurping the authority of the attorney general in making such a pronouncement and for exposing Clinton’s misdeeds when he was effectively closing the investigation.
But Toensing says Comey made far more mistakes, starting with his repeated misstating of the statute in question. Comey insisted that intent to break the law was required to bring charges, while gross negligence is the standard laid out in federal law. She also savaged Comey for refusing to impanel a grand jury to probe Clinton and for allowing the same attorney to represent multiple witnesses in the case.
“That’s called a conflict of interest, because that lawyer can get all of her clients together and they can all read from the same music. You never do that,” said Toensing.
Toensing is also dismissing the intense reaction from Democrats, who she says are now appalled after calling for Comey’s head for months. She says the idea that Trump fired Comey because of the ongoing Russia investigation is ridiculous and so are any comparisons to Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre.”
“In Watergate, there was a crime. There was a burglary. There was a break-in. What’s the crime here? What’s the crime? Do we have a crime? No, there’s no crime,” said Toensing, noting that Russian involvement in U.S. elections is nothing new.
“That’s been going on since Richard Nixon. Why is it all of a sudden an issue this time, just because Hillary lost? If Hillary had won, there would not be any inquiry into whatever the Russians did regarding this election process,” said Toensing.
Toensing is also upset with congressional Republicans, both for not doing more at recent hearings to point out that Russian interference in elections is not the same as collusion with the Trump campaign. She also says the past 24 hours show Democrats are far better at messaging than the GOP.
Finally, Toensing believes former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would be an ideal successor to Comey at the FBI and is someone who has worked for Republicans and Democrats.
“He is a lifetime career cop. That’s what we need at the FBI now to gain confidence,” said Toensing.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America enjoy watching Hillary Clinton remain immersed in her state of denial, as Hillary takes responsibility for losing to Donald Trump but seems to blame everyone else. They also react to Pres. Trump tweeting about nuking the legislative filibuster and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying it’s not going to happen. And they ‘re almost speechless as the Democrat running for Congress in Montana invites skeptics of the liberal line on climate change to go into their garages and start their cars.
David French of National Review and Greg Corombos welcome Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and reflect on the election year gamble that paid off for the GOP, while David points out Democrats would have done the same thing if the roles were reversed. They also recoil at the pair of terrorist church bombings in Egypt, apparently carried out by ISIS. And they get a kick out of Hillary Clinton having a long list of reasons she lost in 2016, but doesn’t blame herself at all.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America get the popcorn ready as the Hillary and Sanders Democrats feud over the future of the party. They also rip the media for overblowing Donald Trump’s statement on NATO being obsolete but also scold Trump for stoking some of the confusion. And they unload on the radical leftists Project Veritas caught trying to ruin an inaugural ball with stink bombs and triggering the sprinklers.
One of America’s top political analysts says he and just about every other expert were wrong about the 2016 elections, noting Donald Trump is unlike any of his predecessors and his win promises to gut much of the Obama legacy.
Dr. Larry Sabato runs the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, where he teaches political science. He also heads up Sabato’s Crystal Ball, which predicts presidential, Senate, House, and gubernatorial races. In more than 40 years of tracking presidential races, has he ever seen a campaign like this one?
“Never, and no one in my field has,” said Sabato. “I’ve talked to a number of historians and people who focus on politics and political history. Everyone agrees that this election stands out in all of American history. Whether you liked the result or didn’t like the result, it’s just different,” said Sabato.
He says the Trump’s background is one of many things that distinguish him from previous presidents.
“Donald Trump is the only president-to-be who has not served in any political office or military office. He is an outsider complete and total. He’s the richest president by far. There’s just so many categories that make him unusual,” said Sabato.
When 2016 dawned, Trump was the front-runner for the Republican nomination, and other than an opening loss in Iowa, was the clear favorite throughout the chase for 1,237 delegates. Sabato says Trump benefited from a crowded GOP field.
“During the competitive part of the primary…Trump only received about 38 percent of the vote. Sixty-two percent of Republicans voted for other candidates. The problem (for the other candidates) was there was so many of them. So 38 percent was more than enough to win the nomination,” said Sabato.
All the supposed experts declared that Trump’s style, persona, and policy positions couldn’t possible win him the general election, but again Trump proved them all wrong. Sabato says it’s always hard for a party to win three consecutive terms in the White House. He says the only exception in modern history is the transition from Ronald Reagan to George H.W. Bush..
Another big factor that Sabato says was overlooked was a massive enthusiasm gap between supporters of Trump and Hillary Clinton.
“The turnouts in small town America, in rural America among the blue collar workers and white working class were enormous. It was just enormous, whereas Clinton was unable to excite even solid Democratic groups like millennials and African-American voters,” said Sabato.
He points out that Clinton won those groups handily but their turnout numbers were way down compared with 2012.
Sabato also notes that the media became fixated on Trump’s negatives and failed to pay attention to Clinton’s unpopularity.
“Hillary Clinton was more unacceptable than we realized. Yes, we knew she had high negatives. That was obscured by the fact that Trump had even higher negatives so we didn’t focus on her negatives. But it turned out her negatives unenthused the Democratic base, to a much greater degree in the end, than Trump’s negatives unenthused the Republican base,” said Sabato.
While Democrats offer excuses for Clinton’s defeat such as the influence of the Russians and the FBI to the existence of the Electoral College, Sabato says the real answers cut much closer to home.
“Hillary Clinton doesn’t want to talk about her inability to generate a large turnout among Democratic groups. She doesn’t want to talk about her inability to attract the white working class that got Bill Clinton elected in good part in 1992 and 1996. She never had a message that reached them,” said Sabato.
“Her slogan, although technically it was ‘Stronger Together’ whatever that means, was really ‘It’s My Turn. It’s My Turn.’ Well, people rarely elect a candidate because it’s their turn. They want to know what’s in it for them,” said Sabato.
But Clinton was not the only loser on election night. Sabato says President Obama took one on the chin as well.
“It hurts him a great deal. Why did he campaign so hard for a woman who gave him such trouble in 2008 and very nearly won the nomination instead of him?” asked Sabato. “He understood, just as Ronald Reagan understood, that if you don’t get a successor of your party elected to succeed you, much of what you’ve done is going to be reversed rather quickly and probably easily.”
For Sabato, 2016 leaves him with two major takeaways about the state of American politics. First, he says we need to pay more attention to who the most motivated voters are.
“A constituency that is ignored and feels angry or abused is going to turn out in larger numbers. It may be African-Americans for Barack Obama in 2008 or it may be white working class, rural or small town voters for Donald Trump in 2016. Always ask yourself, where’s the energy in the electorate,” said Sabato.
However, for all the big wins Republicans enjoyed in 2016, they still have some demographic problems.
“Republicans still have some of the basic problems they had before Trump was elected. They still don’t appeal to many minorities. They still don’t appeal to millennials. They have to get a larger share of more groups in the electorate if they are to win not just the electoral vote but the popular vote in future elections,” said Sabato.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer the Italian police for taking out the Berlin terrorist, the Australian authorities for foiling a Christmas Day terrorist attack and those responsible for peacefully ending a hijacking in Malta. They also get a kick out of Harry Reid calling the DNC worthless and Joe Biden concluding that Hillary Clinton never figured out why she was running. And they applaud Donald Trump for getting Egypt to scrap a UN resolution condemning Israel after hearing the Obama administration might not oppose it.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the RNC for beefing up cyber security so the Russians could not hack it successfully. They also groan as Facebook picks several liberal outlets to decide if users are posting “fake news.” And we discuss Democratic donors demanding answers for Hillary Clinton’s defeat and some of them thinking about not donating in the future.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America enjoy reading the Politico story of how the Clinton campaign vigorously resisted efforts from allies to go to Michigan to help her win there. They also sigh over the carnage in Syria and the latest toothless response from the Obama administration. And they discuss the state of Keith Olbermann’s mental health as he offers an unhinged rant saying Donald Trump cannot be allowed to take office or else it will mean the end of our independence.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America offer a champagne toast to the military and space heroism of John Glenn. They are surprised to see a massive jump in economic optimism since Trump’s election. They shudder as free speech is trampled in the Netherlands. And they unload on Hillary Clinton after she claims fake news is having a major impact on the nation.