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Joe Lieberman For F.B.I Director?

joe-lieberman-sourpuss

A seemingly unlikely name has emerged as the frontrunner for the position of Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, former Senator and 2000 Democratic Vice-Presidential nominee Joe Lieberman:

President Trump, 24 hours from his self-imposed deadline for picking a new F.B.I. director, told reporters on Thursday that he was “very close” to choosing a successor to James B. Comey, and he named Joseph I. Lieberman, the former Democratic senator and vice-presidential nominee, as a finalist.

But members of Mr. Trump’s staff — alarmed by his rapid embrace of Mr. Lieberman, a charming 75-year-old political operator with no federal law enforcement experience — have quietly urged him to take more time to make such a critical hire. By late Thursday, the president appeared increasingly likely to leave Friday for a nine-day foreign trip without picking a new director, according to three senior administration officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Mr. Lieberman, who served three terms in the Senate as a Democrat and one as an independent, would be an atypical choice to lead the F.B.I., whose agents prize the bureau’s independence as one of Washington’s few apolitical institutions. Judges and former prosecutors, not elected officials, have frequently been chosen.

Administration officials described the search as fluid and said the president and his team were keeping the decision-making process closely held to avoid the leaks that Mr. Trump believes are endemic to the West Wing.

Still, Mr. Trump, speaking briefly with reporters in the Oval Office as he met with President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, offered an emphatic “yes” when asked whether Mr. Lieberman was among the finalists.

“We need a great director of the F.B.I. I cherish the F.B.I. It’s special,” he told reporters later at a joint East Room news conference with Mr. Santos. “All over the world, no matter where you go, the F.B.I. is special. The F.B.I. has not had that special reputation with what happened in the campaign, what happened with respect to the Clinton campaign, and even, you could say — directly or indirectly — with respect to the much more successful Trump campaign.”

It was unclear whether the president’s acknowledgment that Mr. Lieberman was a finalist was intended to stoke the “Apprentice”-style frenzy of speculation he has favored with other high-profile picks, only to opt for a lesser-known candidate.

Mr. Trump is still seeking applicants, and some aides, along with many law enforcement officials, have suggested that he hire from within the agency to repair some of the damage to morale wrought by Mr. Comey’s sudden firing. Adam S. Lee, the well-regarded special agent in charge of the bureau’s Richmond, Va., field office, was interviewed, as were Richard A. McFeely, a former senior official at the F.B.I., and Andrew G. McCabe, the acting director.

Mr. McCabe, a veteran agent who joined the bureau in 1996 and once specialized in Russian organized crime, was named deputy director in 2016. It is not clear whether he will return to that role once Mr. Comey’s replacement is confirmed.

All three men are under consideration, the administration officials said, even if Mr. Lieberman, who was Al Gore’s running mate in the 2000 presidential campaign, is the front-runner.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Lieberman had good chemistry when they met privately, one White House aide said — a key ingredient for Mr. Trump in hiring people. He is also friendly with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former senator, who has told Trump aides that Mr. Lieberman would most likely receive overwhelming support in the Senate.

Democrats pushed back hard on that notion, casting the conservative Mr. Lieberman as a Democrat in name only and noting that he publicly supported Mr. Trump’s pick of Michael T. Flynn as his first national security adviser. At a closed-door Democratic lunch on Thursday, Senators Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois urged party members to hold the line if he is selected.

But casting Mr. Lieberman as the most likely choice did have one immediate advantage: It appealed to Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, who had suggested this week that the firestorm over Mr. Trump’s ouster of Mr. Comey was as bad as Watergate. Mr. McCain defended Mr. Lieberman, who endorsed his 2008 run for president.

Right off the bat, Lieberman seems like a strange pick for a position like F.B.I. Director for any number of reasons. Primarily, of course, there’s the fact that he has no prior experience in law enforcement notwithstanding the fact that nearly all of the previous holders of the position had some kind of background as either a law enforcement officer, a lower position inside the Bureau or some part of the Department of Justice, or as a former Federal Judge. Lieberman, by contrast, has never held a law enforcement position outside of serving as Attorney General of Connecticut from 1983 to 1989. The majority of Lieberman’s career has been spent in electoral politics, something that has not been true of any previous Director. Finally, Lieberman is 75 years old. Were he appointed and confirmed, he would be among the oldest people to ever take on the task of running the F.B.I. Whether he’s either qualified for, or up to the task, is truly an open question. Given all of that, the fact that he has somehow ended up at the top of Trump’s list for Director of the nation’s top law enforcement agency is odd to say the least. But then, this is Donald Trump and if the past 120 days have taught us anything it is to expect the unexpected.

In addition to the doubts I expressed above, there may be a possibility that Lieberman could not make it through the Senate:

President Donald Trump may be dramatically miscalculating how much support Sen. Joe Lieberman would have among his former Democratic colleagues if nominated to become FBI director.

Some Senate Democrats hold a grudge against Lieberman for his rightward turn and opposition to some of President Barack Obama’s agenda late in his Senate career. Others say even though they respect Lieberman, the job of FBI director should not go to a former politician. And all Democratic senators interviewed for this story said the former Connecticut senator lacks the kind of experience needed for the post.

candidate, who later caucused with the party as an independent in the Senate after losing his 2006 Senate primary, has emerged as a front-runner to replace fired FBI Director James Comey. But Lieberman’s nomination likely would produce the most partisan vote for an FBI chief in Senate history. Typically, nominees for the job have been approved unanimously or with token opposition.

“I don’t think there’s going to be much excitement about that from our side of the aisle. Not because we don’t respect Joe Lieberman. But we need a law enforcement professional, not someone who’s run for office before,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). “We don’t need anyone who’s put on a red shirt or blue shirt — or who’s campaigned for president.” Lieberman ran for president in 2004.

Republicans are lining up behind Lieberman, who left the Senate in 2013 after four terms. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) called him a “person of unquestioned integrity and that’s what we need.” Added Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has spoken to Lieberman about the job: “If the president picked Joe Lieberman he’d be doing [the] country a good service and, I think, the FBI a good service.”

But Republicans seem to be overstating Lieberman’s Democratic support. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) predicted Lieberman would get 100 votes, a near impossibility.

But Lieberman’s relationship with Democrats is damaged. After he left office, he urged senators in his own party to reject Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, infuriating Democrats. And his relationship with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Graham — the trio were known as the “three amigos” — tilted the Senate in a more hawkish direction during the first four years of Obama’s presidency. In 2008, Lieberman endorsed McCain over Obama for president.

“He has a history of angering Democrats and Republicans, which is probably a good experience for being FBI director. But my concern is about someone with a political background. This is a moment for someone with a law enforcement background,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who holds Lieberman’s old seat. “It’s really important to restore people’s faith in the FBI.”

Lieberman could conceivably be confirmed without Democratic support, of course. Thanks to the removal of the sixty-vote rule for Presidential appointments, Republicans can confirm him by a simple majority without a single Democrat supporting him. Of course, this also means that it would take mere a handful of Republicans to object to Lieberman’s appointment for it to be scuttled as well and we haven’t really heard from many Republicans on the possibility that Lieberman would be Trump’s pick for this position. As many have pointed out, though, most previous F.B.I. Directors have been confirmed on a bipartisan basis, usually with a unanimous or near-unanimous vote. A party-line vote would mean that Lieberman would enter office under a cloud at a time when the Bureau clearly needs a solid leader to address the controversies that it has become too political in recent years, as meritless as those might be. Having a Director that was rejected by nearly half the Senate would be problematic for a position that was in many senses meant to be above politics.

In any case, we may know sooner rather than later whether Lieberman is indeed Trump’s choice for F.B.I. Director despite all the arguments against him. The President leaves for his first foreign trip, a trip that will take him to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Vatican City, and then on to Belgium and Sicily to take part in back-to-back multinational summit meetings. Yesterday, some White House sources were hinting that he could name his pick before leaving on that trip, which would be an announcement late this morning or early this afternoon.

Update: NBC News is reporting that there will be no announcement of a new F.B.I. Director today, meaning that we won’t hearing anything about a new director for at least ten days while Trump is overseas:

Does this mean that the Lieberman trial balloon has popped?

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    Lieberman works for a law firm that’s represented Trump since 2001. Isn’t that some kind of conflict of interest?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just say no Joe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. michael reynolds says:

    Lieberman’s an insufferably self-righteous clown. He has no business running anything.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  4. James Pearce says:

    Primarily, of course, there’s the fact that he has no prior experience in law enforcement

    This should be the end of all “Lieberman as FBI director” talk.

    This and firing Comey read to me as weak, out-of-touch attempts to appease Democrats. I think some small part of Trump thought he’d be praised, yes, praised for getting rid of Comey –previously blamed for throwing the election– and for floating Gore’s former running mate as his replacement. Cocooned in his bubble, he can’t fathom why these decisions stink.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  5. Hal_10000 says:

    Sorry to fill the comments with a long reasoned argument against Lieberman but I must say my piece which is this:

    No.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  6. SenyorDave says:

    @James Pearce: This and firing Comey read to me as weak, out-of-touch attempts to appease Democrats.

    Democrats hate Lieberman. He had a hissy fit when he got primaried. Then he became a bitter man, strongly opposing the very things he ran on as Gore’s VP choice. Then he was for a public option for 55-64 year olds, but eventually he became one of the main reason it didn’t pass.

    No person of integrity would become FBI director under Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  7. Slugger says:

    I think the FBI needs a vigorous, hardworking, nonpolitical, experienced cop for the top job. Someone with the kind of law enforcement background that would be respected by the agents in the field while simultaneously having a record of efficient administration in handling personnel issues, meeting a budget, etc. The term of office is ten years. A 75 year old former politician simply doesn’t meet the search criteria that a serious staffing search committee would establish. Mr. Trump told us that he would bring real life business principles to his administration. Let’s use the techniques any big business would use in filling a vacancy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. James Pearce says:

    @SenyorDave:

    Democrats hate Lieberman.

    When Lieberman was on Gore’s ticket, Trump was a Democrat. He took a right-ward turn somewhere in the aughts and was subsequently elevated to the head of the Republican party mostly based on his trolling ability, not his politics.

    I would bet that Trump doesn’t even understand why Democrats detest Lieberman. In his mind, I imagine him being extremely confused that Dems aren’t praising the pick. “You liked him in 2000. What happened?”

    Considering his reliance on Breitbart and Fox News, is it any surprise he’s ill-equipped to answer this question?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  9. CSK says:

    @Slugger:

    Trump must have decided that Lieberman would be 100% loyal to him, since that is the only employment qualification Trump recognizes.

    By the way, Tony Schwartz, the author of The Art of the Deal, is predicting that Trump will quit when the scandals come to a full rolling boil.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  10. Davebo says:

    @SenyorDave:

    For the reasons you cited it reads to me as classic Cleek’s Law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  11. MarkedMan says:

    I lost all respect for Lieberman when he debated Dick Cheney as Gore’s VP nominee. He came across as a pathetic little weasel with a serious man crush on Cheney. He practically simpered for his opponent’s approval. Everything he did after that merely demonstrated the truth of this judgement. When I moved to CT some years ago the thing I looked forward to the most was voting against this spineless toady and was actually disappointed when he decided not to run.

    So no. He won’t be acceptable to Democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  12. al-Alameda says:

    I’m with Dianne Feinstein on this one: This is a tough situation, why throw gasoline on the fire and hire a politician? Hire a non-politician to be the Director.

    I would not be surprised if half of Democratic senators opposed Lieberman.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. Mikey says:

    When I saw this yesterday, my first thought was “you have got to be shitting me.” A career politician with no experience in law enforcement or Justice Department who would be 85 years old if he lives to the end of a 10-year appointment is pretty much the exact opposite of the qualifications for FBI Director.

    Therefore, I expect Trump to nominate him.

    The best choice would be Acting Director McCabe, but

    once specialized in Russian organized crime

    pretty much guarantees he won’t be picked.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  14. charon says:

    Democrats hate Lieberman.

    Maybe someone on Trump’s staff fed him this idea as a way to troll Democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  15. CSK says:

    @charon:

    I think Trump expected that the choice of Lieberman would elicit great praise from Democrats, just as he assumed the firing of Comey would result in a chorus of bipartisan hosannas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  16. Todd says:

    We have to remember that Donald Trump has the mentality of the average right wing internet commenter. To him nominating Lieberman probably seems like a brilliant statesman like move … and of course when Democrats oppose him, they can be called hypocrites … because in the frame of Internet arguing, that’s a “win”.

    p.s. this is in line with the stories that Trump thought Democrats would be happy when he fired Comey … I totally believe that’s what he thought, and his surprise at the blowback was genuine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  17. michael reynolds says:

    Trump: Who has a reputation for integrity but is actually weak and controllable?

    Jared: Lieberman?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  18. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    By the way, Tony Schwartz, the author of The Art of the Deal, is predicting that Trump will quit when the scandals come to a full rolling boil.

    Sure. Just as Trump was always going to drop out of the presidential race.

    Somehow I think this misunderstands Trump’s psychology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. Gustopher says:

    We have a President with no government experience, and that’s working out fine, so why not an FBI director with no law enforcement experience? What’s the worst that can happen?

    Failing that, Sherif Apiaro should be available.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. Moosebreath says:

    “Lieberman, by contrast, has never held a law enforcement position outside of serving as Attorney General of Connecticut from 1983 to 1989. The majority of Lieberman’s career has been spent in electoral politics, something that has not been true of any previous Director.”

    In Connecticut, Attorney General is an elected position, and generally viewed as a stepping stone to higher office. Other recent attorney generals have gone on to be Senator (Richard Blumenthal) and Lieutenant Governor (Robert Killian).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:

    I think the circumstances are different. On the campaign trail, Trump was basically rewarded for being an incompetent boob and boor. In the Oval Office, it’s not playing quite that way.

    Schwartz and I could be engaging in a bit of wishful thinking, I suppose. But bear in mind that to the extent Trump has been successful (if you want to call it that), he’s been so only because he was able to bribe, threaten, or impoverish those who opposed him. He’s no longer in a position to do that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. teve tory says:

    @Kylopod: Tony Schwartz knows enough about trump to be his ghostwriter. Do you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. michael reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:

    I think of Trump as a shark – excellent killer instincts, tiny little brain. Sharks like swimming with fish they can eat. But now the Trump shark finds himself in a dolphin pod, surrounded by ‘fish’ who are faster and smarter and more able to co-ordinate than he is. Worst of all there’s a great big orca named Mueller swimming right beside him and looking hungry.

    I think every course of action for him is bad now. He is clearly not enjoying himself. He is being forced to do things – like read – that he hates doing. And all the cheering mobs are gone, baby, replaced by the WaPo and the NYT, who just don’t buy his bullshit. Poll numbers dropping. He’s losing his audience. So I have no doubt that under normal circumstances he would declare bankruptcy and toddle off to his next failed venture.

    But he’s no longer in business, he’s in politics. And worse still: the law is after him. That is a very bad place to be. It took me a few months after I jumped bail (long ago) to grasp a core reality of criminal life: it is not a game of fox and hounds; it is a game of tightrope walker and floor. All it takes is one slip and you lose. Trump has already slipped. He is in free-fall toward the unyielding floor. You can quit being president, you can’t quit being the subject of an FBI criminal investigation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  24. teve tory says:

    But he’s no longer in business, he’s in politics. And worse still: the law is after him. That is a very bad place to be. It took me a few months after I jumped bail (long ago) to grasp a core reality of criminal life: it is not a game of fox and hounds; it is a game of tightrope walker and floor. All it takes is one slip and you lose.

    A few years ago I thought, I’ve got a high IQ, why can’t i pull off a few movie-type capers and retire in luxury? And I came across a blog post by Bruce Schneier explaining why. If you need to do, say, 40 jobs to make enough to retire, you’ve got to go 40-and-0. The cops just have to be 1-and-something. 😀

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  25. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    On the campaign trail, Trump was basically rewarded for being an incompetent boob and boor.

    That’s actually one of the big myths of the 2016 election.

    Trump was not in any way “rewarded” for his attacks on the judge or the Khans or after the release of the Access Hollywood tape. On the contrary, in the immediate aftermath of those things he was widely condemned by members of his own party, there were talks of somehow removing him from the ticket, and his poll numbers sank to dangerously low levels. If there were any moments in which he might have bailed to forestall a more embarrassing outcome, those were it.

    Trump didn’t defeat Hillary because the public embraced his boorish behavior. He defeated her because he weathered the news cycle until the election happened to coincide with a moment in which the media scrutiny was trained on Hillary rather than himself.

    One pundit who got it right was Jamelle Bouie, who argued that Trump would never quit the race, since it would instantly brand him as “the biggest loser in the history of American politics.”

    But bear in mind that to the extent Trump has been successful (if you want to call it that), he’s been so only because he was able to bribe, threaten, or impoverish those who opposed him. He’s no lobnger in a position to do that.

    Consider what happened to Rod Blagojevich, the only governor in the past 30 years to be formally removed from office (without resigning to forestall that outcome). Though a Democrat, Blago was in many ways a Trumpian figure (the flamboyant sociopathy, the shameless corruption, the weird-ass hairdo), and I think there is just something about that sort of personality that the only way they’d ever leave their office prematurely is by being dragged kicking and screaming from it.

    It goes back to something we’ve discussed before, which is that people have this tendency to assume Trump has more self-awareness than is probably the case, because they just can’t wrap their heads around the idea that anyone could be that delusional. If it gets to the point that removal from office becomes a serious possibility, I’m not sure Trump would ever see the writing on the wall, and even if he did, he’d probably just do what he always does: double down. If his aim is to depict himself as a martyr, resigning would simply show weakness in his eyes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  26. charon says:

    On the campaign trail, Trump was basically rewarded for being an incompetent boob and boor.

    Trump won with message discipline and getting people who do not usually vote to turn out – largely by being more willing than anyone else to overpromise.

    Ubiquitous MAGA caps always visible. Promises to bring back jobs, reiterated. Nuremberg type rallies, over and over.

    Keep repeating the same message, it sinks in, as both Lenin and Goebbels pointed out.

    So what does he do for an encore, when the jobs have not come back and America has not gotten any greater?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. charon says:

    @charon:

    Oh, and fantastic health care, cheaper and better. How is that going?

    Overpromising works, given enough gullible marks, as America clearly has in abundance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. Franklin says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Lieberman’s an insufferably self-righteous clown

    I don’t think that’s fair, because he’s not a clown.

    /at least compared to Trump

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. Lit3Bolt says:

    I’m not quite as enraged as most liberals about this choice. Lieberman is an awful pick who will not serve out his 10 year term, and the agency will hate him with a fury of a 1000 suns, but at the same time, I can’t imagine he’s delighted with Trump being President. I don’t think Lieberman wants to see him escape justice, especially after Trump flipped his nose at Israeli intelligence.

    Trump may well think he’s appointing a puppet, but then will act all astonished and bewildered at his appointee investigating him.

    Lieberman has utterly zero reasons to be loyal to Trump.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  30. Joe says:

    @CSK:

    . . . he’s been so only because he was able to bribe, threaten, or impoverish those who opposed him. He’s no longer in a position to do that.

    I dunno. I think he’s in a position to threaten and/or impoverish millions who oppose him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. Joe says:

    I have been googling all morning to find where in his past Lieberman proposed to abolish the FBI. It’s the only standard Trump nominee attribute Lieberman seems to lack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    He won’t pass the Senate.
    Another loss for the Toddler in Chief.
    So much winning losing…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. MarkedMan says:

    @michael reynolds: it is not a game of fox and hounds; it is a game of tightrope walker and floor. All it takes is one slip and you lose.

    Well put. Mind if I steal it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    Lieberman has utterly zero reasons to be loyal to Trump

    That may be. But it doesn’t change the fact that Lieberman is fundamentally a weak toady.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. michael reynolds says:

    By the way:

    The law enforcement investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president, according to these people, who would not further identify the official.

    The sources emphasized that investigators remain keenly interested in people who previously wielded influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

    Flynn resigned in February after disclosures that he had lied to administration officials about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Current administration officials who have acknowledged contacts with Russian officials include Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Cabinet members Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

    Oh, Jared, time to lawyer up, buddy. Because Sessions and Tillerson are not “current White House official”, they are employed elsewhere. So that’s you they’re talking about, Jared.

    While there has been a loud public debate in recent days over the question of whether the president might have attempted to obstruct justice in his private dealings with FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired last week, people familiar with the matter said investigators on the case are more focused on Russian influence operations and possible financial crimes.

    Jared and ‘financial crimes.’ Members of the Trump Crime Family need to start thinking about immunity deals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  36. MarkedMan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Oh, Jared, time to lawyer up, buddy

    So if this does turn out to be Jared, how long does it take for Trump to toss him under the bus?

    As sweet as it would be to watch Jared get frog marched out of the White House, isn’t it much more likely to be Bannon or Gorka?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. michael reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I don’t think Bannon or Gorka is probably involved in ‘financial crimes.’ They’re just Nazis. Kushner is my guess because: money not politics.

    Will Kushner flip? Because if he does it’s all over. Might place a wee bit of strain on his marriage, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  38. john430 says:

    @michael reynolds: That’s funny. Lieberman is one of the very few Democrats I would consider voting for. He’s honest and is deeply religious and patriotic. If he’d been at the top of the ticket instead of that fool Gore, I might have voted Democrat for the first time in my life.

    You guys have a penchant for nominating jerks at the top of the ticket though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  39. charon says:

    @john430:

    Are you a real person?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  40. michael reynolds says:

    @john430:
    Dude. After electing Donald Trump you never, ever, ever, ever get to criticize anyone else’s choice. Ever. You’re a guy criticizing a Big Mac while chewing on a dog shit sandwich. If you had an ounce of pride or intellectual integrity or self-awareness you’d hide under a rock.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  41. Jen says:

    @michael reynolds: Don’t overlook Stephen Miller. He worked for Sessions and the Trump campaign, and he’s now a senior advisor for policy. Just a thought.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  42. CSK says:

    My sense of Kushner is that if they offered him a deal to spill what he knows about The Trump Criminal Enterprise, it would be like watching a giant sewage pipe erupt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “Members of the Trump Crime Family need to start thinking about immunity deals.”

    I hate to be cynical — and am shocked to be more cynical than Michael Reynolds — but when was the last time a rich, powerful white man was held responsible for anything? You can trace this back to the Nixon pardon, which Ford claimed was necessary for national healing — the same kind of national healing that made sure we couldn’t send any of the Iran-Contra people to jail, the same kind of reconciliation that led Obama decide not to prosecute anyone from the Bush administration or the banks for tanking the country.

    True, we’ve seen sentences for Hastert and now Weiner, but those both have to do with sexual misbehavior with minors. And I know Blago and the occasional state guy have gone down — but generally once you make it this high it becomes essential to the nation that you skate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  44. wr says:

    @john430: “He’s honest and is deeply religious and patriotic.”

    Yes, he is indeed devoted to the well-being of Israel…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  45. michael reynolds says:

    @wr:
    40 people did time for Watergate. Keep hope alive!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @Jen:
    Reading between the lines of the WaPo piece it sounds like we need to add Money + Close WH advisor. I don’t think of Miller as a money guy. He’s ‘just’ a fascist dick. I think Money + Close WH advisor = Jared, most likely. And Jared does not look like a boy who wants to be doing time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  47. gVOR08 says:

    @Lit3Bolt: I don’t doubt that Lyin’ Joe Lieberman would stick a shiv in Trump’s back as soon as he felt it was safe to do so. I also have no doubt that in his interview the little weasel was happy to insinuate great loyalty to Trump and whatever Trump stands for.

    Doug, love the picture.

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  48. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: It’s fun to think of Kellyanne Conway behind bars, but if Jeff Sessions doesn’t end up with one of the long sentences he thinks anyone darker than him should serve I will never stop being disappointed.

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  49. michael reynolds says:

    @MarkedMan:
    Sure.

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  50. Jen says:

    @michael reynolds: Good point. I was just thinking campaign mechanics + collusion probably touches lower-tier guys.

    It’s like when Lost was on! So many angles!

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  51. James Pearce says:

    @wr:

    I hate to be cynical — and am shocked to be more cynical than Michael Reynolds — but when was the last time a rich, powerful white man was held responsible for anything?

    Every president who has been impeached, or was in danger of being impeached, has been a rich, powerful white man.

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  52. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think Money + Close WH advisor = Jared, most likely

    As a professional writer, you know the last minute shocking ending is that it will be Ivanka.

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  53. Tyrell says:

    One reason Lieberman went independent and away from the Democratic party was probably the anti-Israel philosophy of the Obama administration.
    Here is a list of good candidates for the F.B.I. director: Judge Alex Ferrer, Alberto Gonzalez, Atty. Aldred, Ashton Carter, Jenee Harteau (Minn. city police chief), Kenneth Randall (Univ, Alabama Law School).
    One of my favorite places in Washington is the F.B.I. building. Walking its hallowed halls brings images of agents battling Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, and John Dillinger; of J. Edgar Hoover and his achievements against communist infiltration in this country.
    “Time to fire FBI Director James Comey” (The Hill, Dec. 2014, 2016).

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  54. MarkedMan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Will Kushner flip?

    OK, now I’m just writing fantasy novels in my head, but say it was Kushner. And say it was financial crimes. And say the State of record is NJ. That means that Chris Christie could bring pressure to bear on the attorney general to prosecute to the full extent of the law. ala Jeff Sessions: charge him with the maximum sentence. Too, too beautiful to ever happen.

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  55. Kylopod says:

    @Tyrell:

    One reason Lieberman went independent and away from the Democratic party was probably the anti-Israel philosophy of the Obama administration.

    Um…Lieberman went independent in 2006, more than two years before there even was an Obama Administration.

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  56. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: “…J. Edgar Hoover and his achievements…”
    Don’t forget the blackmail recordings…and the dress, you shouldn’t leave out the dress.

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  57. john430 says:

    @michael reynolds: I’ll live with it. True, I held my nose and voted for Trump. The other choice was abhorrent. Hillary Clinton was, and forever will be…a loser, liar and power-hungry. She has only one vision: power

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  58. john430 says:

    @wr: As am I and I’m Catholic. He’s Jewish, formerly a United States Senator and Democrat candidate for the office of Vice-President of the United States. Your point?

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  59. Jen says:

    a loser, liar and power-hungry. She has only one vision: power

    How can *anyone* type that with a straight face considering the daily sh!tshow we are currently watching?

    (Also, she spent much of her time in Arkansas fighting to help the poor get decent legal representation and making sure disabled kids had access to public education. That’s not something power-hungry people with law degrees from Yale do, just FYI.)

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  60. Tyrell says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: You’re right , I won’t forget the dress.

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  61. Tyrell says:

    @john430: Power ? She’s a politician. What is wrong with that ?
    Lyndon Johnson: the most skillful and powerful politician in the modern era. I would say that Johnson used that power to get some good legislation through.

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  62. john430 says:

    @Tyrell: Perhaps I misused the word “power”. Self-aggrandizement is a much better descriptive.

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  63. john430 says:

    @Jen: Yes they do. Besides, that was long ago. A recent article in the Chicago papers noted that people down there just plain don’t like her. She is all attitude. Probably because the good folks in Arkansas are all “deplorables”.

    BTW: Trump won Arkansas.

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  64. john430 says:

    @charon: Yes, I am a real person, unlike many of the leftwing robot trolls that frequent OTB

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  65. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “Every president who has been impeached, or was in danger of being impeached, has been a rich, powerful white man.”

    Uh-huh. How many have gone to jail?

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  66. wr says:

    @Tyrell: “One reason Lieberman went independent and away from the Democratic party was probably the anti-Israel philosophy of the Obama administration.”

    The ONLY reason Lieberman left the Democratic party was because he lost the Democratic primary for his Senate seat and had to run as an independent.

    Geeze, for someone who remembers every line of every Gunsmoke episode, you seem to have memory troubles.

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  67. wr says:

    @john430: “Yes, I am a real person”

    I never doubted it. You couldn’t program a computer to say he voted for Trump because Hillary was all about self-aggrandizement. It would blow up.

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  68. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @john430: “Hillary Clinton was, and forever will be…a loser, liar and power-hungry. She has only one vision: power.”

    And that makes her different from Trump in what way? Or to put it another way, why choose the one most likely, from lack of experience, to make a hash of things? Incompetent over competent?

    Or, to paraphrase John Calvin, if you are drowning, why choose rescue from the bishop who can’t swim over the pagan who can?

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  69. john430 says:

    Not an apt metaphor. Trump may stumble around but he wouldn’t loose the brownshirts that she would.

    The nation is in trouble. Not because of Trump but because of the fascist, anti-free speech movement that the left has inspired.

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  70. Mikey says:

    @john430:

    Trump may stumble around but he wouldn’t loose the brownshirts that she would.

    The brownshirts all voted for Trump.

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  71. Tyrell says:

    @wr: Well, I have seen most episodes more than once.

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  72. john430 says:

    @Mikey: Really? Then all those fascist folks who wreaked violence in Berkeley, suppress free speech, etc. are Republicans? Methinks you see things in mirror image.

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  73. Mikey says:

    @john430: The white supremacists, racist skinheads, KKK, Stormfront (who are literally Nazis)…all of them are ardent and vocal Trump supporters.

    I don’t need a mirror to show me Trump is the one beloved by brownshirts. All I had to do was listen to them.

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  74. Tyrell says:

    @john430: UC-Berkeley has had several riots in the last few months. Most of the instigators are extremist agitators – maybe communists or insurrectionists. I wonder if the government has checked their backgrounds and ties to underground groups.

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  75. Kylopod says:

    @wr:

    The ONLY reason Lieberman left the Democratic party was because he lost the Democratic primary for his Senate seat and had to run as an independent.

    Also, Lieberman endorsed McCain for president in December 2007. At that point Hillary was still the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, and Giuliani was still leading the GOP field. The endorsement was as much about Lieberman’s relationship with McCain as anything: they were personal friends, and they shared hawkish views on Iraq and the Middle East–and yes, that did have something to do with Israel, but it wasn’t in any way a reaction to Obama, who was at that point very much an underdog in the presidential race. (And for the record, the idea that the Obama Admin possessed an “anti-Israel philosophy” is absurd, but that has nothing in particular to do with Lieberman.)

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  76. Matt says:

    @Kylopod: Tyrell much prefers his story of how it happened..

    He’s not one to get bogged down in silly things like facts or reality.

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  77. john430 says:

    @Mikey: So the less than one percent of the electorate are racists and Trump supporters. So what? Less than one percent of the electorate are communists and supported Sanders. So what? Less than one percent of blacks sympathize with the Black Panthers who supported Obama. So what?

    You can’t think and chew gum at the same time.

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